With two of his ministers already facing flak, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis landed himself in a controversy when he delayed an Air India flight to the US by around an hour, according to reports.
The flight, which was carrying around 250 passengers, was delayed because Fadnavis’ principal secretary got the Chief Minister’s old passport to the airport, according to CNN-IBN.
Air India said in a statement, ”The flight, AI 191 of 29th June, 2015 was delayed by a total of 57 minutes. The delay was partly due to technical/operational reasons, and also the ATC.”
Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil reacted to this news and said, “If the flight was held up for a particular person, it wasn’t right. It wasn’t a very good thing on the part of the honourable CM. If this has happened, it is unfortunate.”
Fadnavis on Monday had left for a week-long official trip to US where a series of meetings with trade, commerce and industry houses are lined up, reported PTI.
According to an official from the Chief Minister’s Office, a delegation led by Fadnavis includes Industries Minister Subhash Desai, Chief Secretary Swadheen Kshtriya, Principal Secretary in Chief Minister’s office Pravin Pardeshi among others.
This is not the first time Fadnavis has sparked a row with respect to special treatment given to VVIPs.
In March, traffic policemen at the NSCI Club in central Mumbai’s Worli had stopped private vehicles to make way for the Chief Minister’s convoy and video footage had showed them grappling with some of the club members, including an elderly person.
The issue had triggered an outrage over people being inconvenienced during movement of VVIPs and Opposition parties had attacked Fadnavis on the issue.
Fadnavis, who enjoys Z plus security, had apologised for the melee.
“My sincere apologies to those who were stopped by the police unnecessarily. People in the state have always seen me stopping at traffic signals. I don’t believe in VIP culture,” he had tweeted.
(With inputs from PTI)
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