After the controversy on Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann being deplaned from a Lufthansa flight allegedly for being inebriated on Saturday night in Germany, civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Tuesday said that he will investigate the matter based on the requests made to him.
“The incident took place in the international soil. We will have to make sure that we verify facts, and it is up to Lufthansa to provide the data,” Scindia said. “Based on the request sent to me, I will certainly look into it,” he added.
Mann was deplaned in Frankfurt on his Delhi-bound Lufthansa flight as he was allegedly in inebriated state. He was returning from his trip to Germany from September 11-18.
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Sukhbir Singh Badal urged the Union government to step in and take up the matter with the German government. Leader of opposition and senior Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa demanded Mann’s resignation. Congress leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira too sought clarification on why Mann was deplaned and demanded a public apology from the chief minister for “humiliating Punjab”.
Eyewitness reports suggested that Mann boarded the flight, but was inebriated and couldn’t stand without being supported. The flight was delayed by “three hours” because of a late inbound flight and an aircraft change but it got further delayed as the person and his team’s luggage were taken out amid a heated exchange between some passengers and the cabin crew, the reports added.
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According to Flightaware, flight LH760 from Frankfurt to Delhi was delayed for four hours. It was scheduled to take off from Germany at 1.40pm (local time) on Saturday but took off at 5.34pm and landed in Delhi at 4.40am (Indian Standard Time) on Sunday.
A Lufthansa spokesperson told HT that their 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,” the spokesperson said.
A Punjab government official confirmed that Mann did not board the flight as per schedule. AAP’s director of media communications Chander Suta Dogra insisted Mann was a “little unwell” and chose to take a later flight.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has strongly denied the rumours, saying Mann was not deplaned at the Frankfurt airport. The party termed it false propaganda by political rivals.
Mann was on a visit to Germany from September 11 to 18 to seek investments and for strategic tie-ups in various sectors. He held meetings with representatives of leading companies like BMW and visited Munich, Frankfurt, and Berlin.
Accusing the “dirty tricks departments” of the party’s political opponents of spreading canards to defame Mann, AAP leader Malwinder Singh Kang, said, “They cannot digest that Mann is working hard to get investments into Punjab.”