Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Tuesday said that he will look into allegations that Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann was deboarded from a New Delhi-bound flight in Germany for being drunk, reported PTI.
“This was an incident on international soil,” Scindia told reporters. “We will have to make sure that we verify the facts. It is up to Lufthansa Airline to provide the data. Based on the request that has been sent to me, I will certainly look into it.”
Mann, who was in Germany last week to meet potential investors, had changed his return plans to book a flight on Monday, a day later than his scheduled departure. Aam Aadmi Party officials claimed that the chief minister was unwell, reported the Hindustan Times.
However, reports, citing witnesses, said that on Sunday, a Lufthansa Airline flight was delayed after some passengers and the cabin crew got into an argument. Witnesses also claimed that one of the passengers was drunk and could not stand without support from others.
“A person donning a white kurta-pyjama and resembling Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann entered the aircraft along with other passengers... After some time, four or five of them left the aircraft,” a witness told The Hindu.
The pilot then announced that some passengers had to leave and that there would be a slight delay as their baggage was being removed from the plane. The flight was already delayed due to inbound flight and an aircraft change, according to Lufthansa.
Citing the reports, Opposition leaders in Punjab came down heavily on Mann.
Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa urged the Centre to investigate the matter, while the Shiromani Akali Dal asked Mann and Aam Aadmi Party national convener Arvind Kejriwal to come clean on the matter.
“These reports have embarrassed Punjabis all over the globe,” tweeted Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Badal. “Shockingly, the Punjab government is mum over these reports involving their chief minister. Arvind Kejriwal needs to come clean on this issue. Government of India must step in as this involves Punjabi and national pride.”
Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira sought clarification on the matter. To this, Aam Aadmi Party spokesperson Malvinder Singh Kang accused Khaira of being a “incorrigible fake news peddlers” trying to malign the image of the chief minister.
“While you keep up your badmouthing and he’ll [Mann] continue to serve the interests of Punjab,” Kang added.