New Delhi: The pilot, who has been sacked by low-cost carrier GoAir for making derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is an Indian Air Force veteran who served for 25 years, including a stint with the VVIP Squadron.
The pilot, Unish Malik, is better known as Miki Malik, and retired from the IAF in 2010 at the rank of Group Captain.
Malik’s remarks against Prime Minister Modi Thursday created a furore on social media, and he later apologised and deleted the offensive tweet, besides locking his account. However, GoAir sacked him, saying the airline has a zero-tolerance policy on such matters and it is mandatory for its employees to comply with the company’s employment rules, regulations and policies, including social media behaviour.
Following the controversy, Malik’s earlier posts, were highlighted on social media, along with accusations of ‘Hinduphobia’.
‘Judged well by superiors’
A source in the defence and security establishment said Malik’s service in the VVIP Squadron, officially known as the Communication Squadron under the Air Headquarters at New Delhi, meant he “was a good pilot and judged well by his superiors”.
The source said Malik was in the transport stream, and was an AN-32 pilot before moving on to the Avros. He became a Squadron Leader in 1996 and a Group Captain in 2008.
Sources said Malik had flown multiple missions in the northern and eastern sectors to drop off essential supplies to the troops posted in those regions. He is also reported to have flown then-PM Manmohan Singh into Great Nicobar after the December 2004 tsunami.
(This report has been updated with information about Malik’s ‘Hinduphobic’ tweets)