Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha assured Parliament Thursday that the DGCA will probe into how three flights to Kolkata including one with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on board reportedly had low fuel. The minister’s statement came after the Trinamool Congress and other opposition parties raised the issue in the House and alleged it was a conspiracy to eliminate the leader.
An Indigo flight carrying Banerjee and other passengers from Patna to Kolkata had hovered for over half an hour in the city sky due to technical reasons before landing at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport. Senior Trinamool leader Firhad Hakim, who was accompanying Banerjee in the flight, however, took strong exception to “delayed permission from the ATC” for the flight to land and alleged that it was a conspiracy to eliminate the CM.
“The pilot sought permission for landing from the ATC as the plane was flying short on fuel but the ATC kept the flight on hold,” he alleged.
Indigo however clarified that the captain of the flight, at no stage, declared a fuel priority or emergency. “Fuel on arrival was more than minimum diversion fuel,” the airline said in a statement. It also said misinterpretation by the ATC controller had led him to instruct fire engines and ambulances to be stationed at Kolkata airport.
Union Minister Ananth Kumar said the government was serious about the security of Banerjee and other passengers.