'Violation of court orders': Jagan lands unscheduled in London, Opposition cries foul

Though a clarification was issued by the state government over the layover, the opposition parties demanded an explanation.
Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. (File | EPS)
Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. (File | EPS)

AMARAVATI: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy made an unscheduled landing in London deviating from the original destination Zurich that led to opposition parties terming it as violation of court orders.

Though a clarification was issued by the state government over the layover, the opposition parties demanded an explanation.

Opposition leader in the AP Legislative Council Yanamala Ramakrishnudu pointed out that the Chief Minister's stoppage in London on Friday night was a clear violation of the permission granted by the CBI special court, wherein the latter was allowed to visit only Switzerland.

Reddy, who is facing trial in several criminal cases filed by the CBI and the ED, is currently out on bail and hence required the court's nod for the foreign trip.

The Chief Minister, accompanied by his wife Bharati and Aviation Advisor Bharat Reddy, took off in a special aircraft from Vijayawada on Friday morning and, according to the plan released by the CMO, was supposed to land in Zurich, enroute Davos.

Instead, the CM and his entourage landed in London, flying past Switzerland.

It was only on Saturday evening that Reddy eventually landed in Zurich, according to a CMO release.

The Chief Minister is scheduled to attend the World Economic Forum's annual meet in Davos from Sunday.

According to the state government clarification issued here on Saturday quoting Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath, it claimed that the Chief Minister's chartered aircraft got stuck in Istanbul, where it stopped for re-fuelling due to "heavy air traffic".

"This caused further delay in the flight reaching London. Even in London, there was heavy air traffic and by then it was well past the landing time (10 pm local time) in Zurich," the statement said.

Though the Indian Embassy officials in Switzerland requested the authorities in Zurich to permit the Chief Minister's special aircraft, Rajendranath said permission was denied since "landing is not allowed after 10 pm in Zurich for many years now".

"Accordingly, the Indian Embassy officials in London made arrangements for the Chief Minister's overnight stay. Though he was ready early morning, the pilots needed to be rested as per DGCA norms and, hence, the flight could not take off for Zurich," the Finance Minister claimed.

The minister, however, did not clarify why the Chief Minister flew all the way to London when his original destination (Zurich) lay between Istanbul and London.

"The government should reveal the mystery behind Jagan and his family's trip to London. Why did he go on such a secretive visit to London when the court only permitted his trip to Switzerland? A lot of public money has been wasted on the chartered flight for a trip that is ostensibly private," TDP leader Ramakrishnudu alleged.

State Congress president Sake Sailajanath also demanded an explanation on the mystery behind the Chief Minister's trip to London.

"How can he splurge public money for his personal holiday trip, at a time when the state government is borrowing money even to pay salaries to staff?" Sailajanath questioned.

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The New Indian Express