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Press Release

Two Airline Passengers Indicted For Interfering With Crew And Attendant On Flight To New Delhi

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California

SAN FRANCISCO – An indictment unsealed in federal court today charges David Singh Bhinder and Nitesh Babbar with interfering with a flight crew member and a flight attendant during a flight, announced United States Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Sean Ragan.  

According to the indictment, Bhinder, 44, and Babbar, 32, both of Southern California, were  passengers onboard United Airline Flight 867 on October 19, 2021, departing from San Francisco enroute to New Delhi, India.  The indictment alleges the two attempted to interfere with and intimidate a flight crew member and a flight attendant during the performance of their duties.  The indictment describes that Bhinder and Babbar were disruptive and unruly, threatened to assault a flight crew member and flight attendant, and refused to comply with directions.    

Bhinder and Babbar appeared today in federal court before United States Magistrate Judge Alex Tse to face the indictment.  Their next appearance is scheduled for August 10 before United States District Judge Charles R. Breyer.  Both Bhinder and Babbar remain out of custody.     

Bhinder and Babbar have been charged together in one count of interference and attempted interference with the performance of duties of a flight crew member and flight attendant on an aircraft in violation of Title 49, United States Code, Section 46504.  The charge carries maximum possible penalties of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by a court only after the court’s consideration of the United States Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 USC § 3553. 

Charges contained in a criminal indictment are merely allegations.  As in any criminal case, the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

The case is being prosecuted by the General Crimes Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI.  

Updated July 22, 2022