Even as controversy flies thick and fast over reports emanating from an RTI query alleging that some members of his family had travelled on the Bangalore-Male-Bangalore sector in 2010 in an Air India flight, which had been changed to a larger aircraft, Union Heavy Industries Minister Praful Patel on Tuesday urged Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh to conduct a thorough probe to ascertain all the facts.
In a letter to Mr. Singh, he referred to news reports on Tuesday and some on earlier occasions and requested him to “immediately order an enquiry and ascertain all the facts or probe the matter in any way you deem appropriate.”
“I am personally embarrassed and pained about the impression that is sought to be created that (a) the passengers travelled either on free tickets or were upgraded to business class, whereas they were actually fully paid business class passengers; (b) it was done at my behest; (c) Air India or any private Airlines has never done change of aircraft type ever before if they have more bookings or for commercial reasons,” Mr. Patel, the former Civil Aviation Minister said.
“I would be very obliged if you take this up at the earliest so as to clear the doubts and wrong impression which have emanated out of the RTI query and sensationalised media reports,” Mr. Patel said.
Asked about the controversy, Mr. Singh told reporters that Air India “should not have done this [changing the aircraft].”
According to file notings disclosed under RTI, Air India had deployed larger aircraft to apparently accommodate the family of Mr. Patel on their trip.