In a letter sent by a whistleblower to the Civil Aviation Secretary Som Sundaram, Air India Chairman and Managing Director Rohit Nandan ordered ground staff to illegally upgrade his friend and batchmate the Joint Secretary of the Heavy Industries Ministry Ashok Pavadia to first class on an international flight in November. When the crew informed the staff that the seat was already allotted to another passenger, the Ground Staff said Pavadia was to be upgraded at any cost. As a result a genuine Star Alliance Member was downgraded to Executive class. Added to this, apparently Pavadia was not the best behaved passenger and constantly sought the attention of the crew. The embarrassed crew were belittled in the presence of other First Class passengers because of Pavadia's behaviour. The whistleblower wrote the letter to the DGCA to record the incident, and asked that action be initiated against CMD Nandan.