Bharatiya Janata Party MP Tejasvi Surya opened the emergency exit of an IndiGo aircraft as it was about to take off from Chennai last month by mistake, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said on Wednesday, ANI reported.

“The door was opened by him [Tejasvi Surya] by mistake when the flight was on the ground,” Scindia told reporters. “After all checks, the flight was allowed to take off.”

The incident happened on IndiGo flight from Chennai to Tiruchirapalli on December 10. Media reports on Tuesday had quoted unidentified passengers alleging that the BJP Yuva Morcha chief was the one who had opened the emergency exit.

Surya was seated next to Tamil Nadu BJP president K Annamalai. Surya was let off after he wrote an apology letter, according to reports.

While on Tuesday IndiGo and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation confirmed the incident more than a month after it took place, they did not identify Surya as the person responsible. In a statement, IndiGo said that as part of the standard operating procedure on emergency exits, the flight had to go through “mandatory engineering checks”, resulting in a delay in the departure of the flight.

Surya, on his part, had neither confirmed nor denied the allegations. He said that he would respond only if the Directorate General of Civil Aviation or the airline were to release an official statement.

On Wednesday, Scindia said that Surya himself reported the incident to the crew and the pilot of the aircraft.

“The full protocol was followed and pressurisation was checked, all the other checks were in place and only then did the aircraft take off,” Scindia said, according to PTI. “The DGCA [Directorate General of Civil Aviation] itself has investigated and enunciated.”

Opposition reacts

Commenting on the matter, the Congress on Tuesday questioned what Surya’s intention was and why the authorities hid the incident for so long.

“Tejasvi Surya is an example of what will happen if children playing games are given the proprietorship,” the Karnataka unit of Congress wrote on Twitter. “An act of children’s mischief by trying to open the emergency exit door of the plane has come to light. Why prank with the lives of passengers?”

The chief of the Congress’ Karnataka unit DK Shivakumar remarked: “For a safe take-off and landing, always fly with Congress.”

Congress leader and Lok Sabha member Manickam Tagore said he will raise incident at the next meeting of a parliamentary panel on civil aviation.

Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi questioned whether an apology by Surya was sufficient.

“Shouldn’t one take suo moto cognisance of this incident?” Chaturvedi asked. “What if this happened once the aircraft had taken off rather than when it was taxiing on the runway?”