Jyotiraditya Scindia says will probe Bhagwant Mann 'deplaning' incident
After a row over Punjab chief minister Bhagwant allegedly being deplaned on a Delhi-bound flight from Germany allegedly because he was inebriated, Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Tuesday said he will investigate the matter and has sought a detailed report from Lufthansa Airlines.
On Monday, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal levelled serious allegations against Mann and asked him to clarify media reports of him being deplaned from a flight from Frankfurt to Delhi on Sunday as he was “too drunk to walk” leading to a 4-hour delay in the flight.
Scindia on Tuesday said that he will investigate the matter based on the requests made to him.
“This was an incident on international soil, will have to make sure to verify the details and facts. It’s up to Lufthansa airlines to provide that data,” Scindia said.
India’s aviation ministry received details about Mann’s last-minute skipping of his Lufthansa Airways flight and on the basis of the details, the ministry decided to seek a report in detail from Lufthansa.
“Based on a request which has been sent to me… I will certainly look into the matter,” Scindia told media persons.
The Punjab chief minister was on a visit to Germany from September 11-18 to attract investments and strategic alliances in various sectors. Notably, Mann returned from his eight-day trip from Germany on Monday.
Lufthansa Airlines had, meanwhile, on Monday issued clarification regarding the 4-hour delay of its Delhi-Frankfurt flight.
According to Lufthansa News, Frankfurt to Delhi flight departed later than its scheduled time due to a delayed inbound flight and an aircraft change. “Our flight from Frankfurt to Delhi departed later than originally planned due to a delayed inbound flight and an aircraft change,” Lufthansa News tweeted replying to a user asking about the delay in the flight.
In another tweet by a user asking whether CM Bhagwant Mann was “drunk”, Lufthansa News tweeted that it can’t provide information regarding individual passengers due to data protection reasons. “For data protection reasons we do not provide any information regarding individual passengers,” Lufthansa News said in another tweet.
SAD’s Badal said: “Disturbing media reports quoting co-passengers say Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann was deplaned from a Lufthansa flight as he was too drunk to walk. And it led to a 4-hour flight delay. He missed AAP’s national convention. These reports have embarrassed and shamed Punjabis all over the globe.”
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) also dismissed Badal’s charge that Mann was deplaned from the flight because he was inebriated and said that the Opposition doesn’t have issues to talk about and the Punjab Chief Minister had health problems.
Responding to the allegations, AAP leaders Kuldeep Dhaliwal and Meet Hayer held a joint press conference and said, “Anyone can have health issues. The Opposition does not have any issues to talk about. That is why they are highlighting this issue which is meaningless and fake.
“Earlier, Badal slammed the Punjab government over their silence on the issue and sought clarifications on the incident. He also asked AAP leaders, including party chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to come clean on the issue.
“Shockingly, the Punjab government is mum over these reports involving their CM Bhagwant Mann. Arvind Kejriwal needs to come clean on this issue. The government of India must step into this, as it involves Punjabi and national pride. If he was deplaned, the government of India must raise the issue with its German counterpart,” he added.
Previously on August 31, a delegation, including SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal, submitted a memorandum to Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit and demanded a CBI inquiry into the state excise policy alleging a scam in the policy. “There has been a scam in Punjab Excise Policy just like it happened in Delhi. Just like the Delhi LG has ordered an inquiry into the Excise Policy case, we demand a CBI inquiry along the same lines in Punjab,” said Badal.