Plane switching charge false,order probe: Praful to Ajit

Praful is charged that he forced AI to switch planes for a Maldives trip of his daughter’s in-laws.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: February 22, 2012 12:51 am

Union Heavy Industries Minister Praful Patel on Tuesday sought to come clean on allegations that he misused the civil aviation minister’s office in 2010 and forced the state-owned Air India to switch planes for a Maldives trip of his eldest daughter’s in-laws.

In an e-mail on Tuesday to Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh from London,Patel referred to news reports alleging that some members of his family took an Air India flight from Bangalore to Male and back and the plane was changed to a larger aircraft so as to enable them to travel by business class.

Seeking a probe,Patel requested Singh to “immediately order an inquiry and ascertain all the facts or probe the matter in any way you deem appropriate”.

Asked about the controversy,Singh said,“They (Air India) should not have done this (changing the aircraft).”

The passenger manifest,revealed by the airline after the Central Information Commission’s directive,showed that seven members of the Deshpande family — Patel’s daughter’s family — were indeed on board IC-965 on April 25,2010 for Bangalore-Male and IC-966 from Male to Bangalore on April 28,2010 — the dates on which aircraft were changed.

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