Civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said Tuesday claims Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann was deplaned by German airline Lufthansa at Frankfurt because he was in an ‘inebriated’ state – a claim also made by opposition leader Sukhbir Singh Badal – will be investigated. “It was foreign territory. We’ll have to double-check information. It is up to Lufthansa to provide information. I’ll look into it based on request given to me,” he said.
On Monday, Shiromani Akali Dal chief Badal cited ‘disturbing media reports’ that claimed Mann had been taken off the flight ‘as he was too drunk to walk’. “These reports have embarrassed & shamed Punjabis all over the globe,” he tweeted.
Badal also ‘called on Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal to come clean’ on the reports and declared they had ’embarrassed and shamed’ Punjabis across the world.
AAP – which swept to victory in the Assembly election held in Punjab in February – responded swiftly. Party spokesperson Malwinder Singh Kang told The Tribune ‘dirty tricks’ were being used by their political opponents ‘to defame our chief minister’.
Lufthansa, meanwhile, has yet to comment on these claims. On Monday, though, it said the Frankfurt-Delhi flight was late due to a delayed inbound flight and a change of aircraft.
“Our flight from Frankfurt to Delhi departed later than originally planned due to a delayed inbound flight and an aircraft change,” a tweet read.
Mann was on an eight-day visit to Germany to attract investment for Punjab and had to reschedule his return trip due to a last-minute change; a state government official claimed the rescheduling was because the chief minister was unwell.
The rescheduling, though, sparked rumours of instability in the new Punjab government, as did a meeting Monday between him and Arvind Kejriwal.
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