Commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman had to miss the G-20 official reception after she lost her luggage containing her formal clothes en route to Cairns, Australia, on board an Air India (AI) flight .
The Air India ground handling staff had offloaded her luggage at Melbourne airport, an intermediate stop of the Delhi-Melbourne-Sydney flight, which she had boarded.
Sitharaman tweeted at 3.26 am, "Landed in Sydney to take a connecting flight to Cairns. My checked-in luggage not traceable." In another tweet an hour later she said, "On board my connecting flight to Cairns. All my formal wear in the lost suitcase! Not sure I can buy saris in Cairns! Situation precarious!"
The luggage was restored to Sitharaman 10 hours later after she took to Twitter to report the loss. "At last, my lost luggage arrives. Thanks every one for your wishes. Thanks Air India. Oh yes, relief first to get the phone and iPad chargers!" she tweeted.
Sitharaman's personal secretary called up the office of civil aviation minister P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju as he failed to get help from the AI staff in Sydney. The incident occurred despite AI deputing a sizeable number of employees at Sydney airport. A spokesperson for the national carrier told MAIL TODAY, "The luggage has been restored to the minister. Sitharaman had taken the flight that had a stopover at Melbourne before she disembarked at Sydney. From Sydney, she took a connecting flight to Cairns."
Sitharaman, who is also the minister of state for finance, is in Cairns to attend the two-day meeting of the G-20 finance ministers and Central bank governors. She could not attend the evening reception, organised in honour of the guests. She is attending the meet as Union finance minister Arun Jaitley had undergone treatment for diabetes.