NEW DELHI: Union Minister Praful Patel has written to Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh, seeking a thorough probe into the aircraft-change controversy to accommodate his family.
An RTI response revealed that the Air India had changed an aircraft to accommodate Patel’s family members on a trip to Maldives in 2010 from Bangalore in business class.
“I am embarrassed and pained about the impression that is sought to be created that the passengers travelled either on free tickets or were upgraded to business class, whereas they were actually fully paid business class passengers. Allegation that it was done at my behest is untrue,” the letter said.
According to documents supplied by RTI activist Subhash Agarwal, Air India had deployed larger aircraft to apparently accommodate Patel’s family since the seven business class seats were already booked on the IC-965 flying from Bangalore to Male. The AI made the switch to a bigger aircraft that offered 20 business class seats.
The passenger list now disclosed after the directives of the Central Information Commission shows that the Deshpandes, Patel’s daughter’s in-laws were indeed on board IC-965 on April 25, 2010.