Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Will look into deplaning claims: Scindia

Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia Tuesday said he will look into the facts surrounding Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann being allegedly deplaned from a Delhi-bound flight at Frankfurt airport on claims that he was in an inebriated state. Scindia said that it was “important to verify the facts”.

“This was an incident on international soil. We will have to make sure that we verify the facts. It is up to Lufthansa Airlines to provide the data. Based on the request that has been sent to me, I will certainly look into it,” Scindia told reporters on the sidelines of an event in Delhi.

His comments have come in the aftermath of Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa writing to the Civil Aviation Minister seeking an inquiry into the matter. In a letter on Monday, Bajwa had written: “I would request you to kindly initiate an inquiry for verification of this news from the Lufthansa Airlines as it involves not only an individual but the office he represents and such a conduct deserves to be deprecated.”

According to reports, Mann was supposed to take a flight from Frankfurt to Delhi on September 17 at the end of his eight-day trip to Germany, where he was visiting to attract investments for Punjab. He, however, returned to India on Monday. On Twitter, Lufthansa’s media relations account wrote: “Our flight from Frankfurt to Delhi departed later than originally planned due to a delayed inbound flight and an aircraft change”. “For data protection reasons, we do not provide any information regarding individual passengers,” it added.

Even as the airlines did not respond to queries seeking a comment, Bajwa was quick to react. He said, “I am thankful that he (Scindia) responded to my mail and letter. People of Punjab are highly disturbed with the incident, reports of which are going viral all over social media. We expect clarity on the issue soon.”

He also egged on the CM to break his silence over the issue, “There is a studied silence from the CM and the CMO and this proves that something is amiss.”

SAD chief Sukhbir Badal also continued with his attack on the CM, saying, “Punjabis are pained to see how our CM @BhagwantMann’s actions have been lowering the prestige of the state. #Lufthansa has never said that Mann wasn’t drunk & that the deplaning incident didn’t take place. In fact the airline has refused to disclose the incident citing privacy laws.”

He added, “I talked to two passengers who were on the same flight to verify the incident. One of them, an industrialist, was in the 1st class & the other, a hotelier from Rajasthan, was in business class. Both told me that Mann had fallen down on the first seat after entering the aircraft. When the air hostess informed Mann about his actual seat, he then proceeded to that swaying from one side to another. The air hostess then informed the flight Captain about the situation and it was the Captain who came to the spot and took the decision to de-board Bhagwant. Mann should tell how did he fall ill suddenly after enjoying comfort of VIP lounge at Frankfurt airport for two hours. Besides ordering an inquiry into the episode, the Governor should dismiss Mann from his post. Such a person shouldn’t be allowed to continue in office any longer.”

21/09/22  Kanchan Vasdev/Indian Express

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