A day after a massive political fight erupted over allegations that Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann was deplaned at Germany’s Frankfurt airport because he was too drunk, Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on Tuesday said he will investigate the matter. "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 as per news agency ANI.
"Based on a request which has been sent to me... I will certainly look into the matter," he added.
Mann was visiting Germany from September 11-18 to attract investments and strategic alliances in various sectors. He was supposed to take a Lufthansa flight on September 18. However, some reports claimed that he was deplaned from the flight at the Frankfurt airport for being "heavily drunk". The reports also claimed that due to the incident, the flight was delayed by four hours.
The reports were picked up by the opposition leaders in Punjab. Some leaders even asked the Indian government to raise the issue with Germany.
The ministry has now decided to seek a detailed report from Lufthansa Airlines, the news agency reported.
The airline in a tweet on Monday said: "Our flight from Frankfurt to Delhi departed later than originally planned due to a delayed inbound flight and an aircraft change.”
However, when a Twitter user asked Lufthansa Airlines whether Mann was “drunk,” the airline said: “For data protection reasons we do not provide any information regarding individual passengers.”
The row started after senior leaders from the opposition party Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) accused Mann of shaming Punjabis. They targeted the Punjab CM, claiming he was deplaned from the flight because he was “drunk”.
Former Punjab Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal in a tweet said: "Disturbing media reports quoting co-passengers say Pb CM Bhagwant Mann was deplaned from 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 & shamed Punjabis all over the globe."
In another tweet posted on Tuesday, he said the Punjabis were pained to see how Mann's actions have been lowering the prestige of the state. "Lufthansa has never said that Mann wasn't drunk & that deplaning incident didn't take place. In fact, the airline has refused to disclose the incident citing privacy laws," he added.
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