Video clip on Rijiju "misinterpreted" facts: MHA official

The video clip shown by television channels about Union Minister Kiren Rijiju being confronted by passengers of an Air India flight had "misinterpreted" the facts as people were actually complaining to the Minister about advancement of the plane's departure time, a Home Ministry official claimed.

PTI| Updated: Jul 03, 2015, 23:15 PM IST

New Delhi: The video clip shown by television channels about Union Minister Kiren Rijiju being confronted by passengers of an Air India flight had "misinterpreted" the facts as people were actually complaining to the Minister about advancement of the plane's departure time, a Home Ministry official claimed.

"The video clip shown had been misinterpreted. Actually, the person in the video was telling the Minister that the preponing of flights was wrong and Air India has the habit of changing flight schedule in Leh sector. Many passengers also got information of re-schedule at a very late hour," the official, who is privy to the incident, said on Friday.

This came a day after a major row erupted over offloading of three members of a family from a Leh-Delhi flight to accommodate Rijiju, Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh and an aide, forcing the government to apologise.

Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Rijiju apologised for the inconvenience caused the passengers but Nirmal Singh was unapologetic and instead targeted the pilot and other AI staff members, alleging misbehaviour.

The Home Ministry official said today that original schedule departure time of Flight AI- 446 from Leh to Delhi was 1115 hours on June 24 and boarding time was 1045 hours. The boarding card of Deputy Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir is a proof.

The scheduled programme of the Union Minister was to take BSF helicopter from Leh to Jammu and from there by normal flight to reach Delhi but because of the bad weather the BSF copter could not take off from Jammu and therefore, the Leh administration was asked to book a ticket for Leh to Delhi.

"The news reports of de-boarding of three passengers was wrong as in actual they were not allowed to board due to preponing of the departure timing of Air India flight," the official said.

The Prime Minister's Office also sought a report from the Civil Aviation Ministry over the incident as well as another similar incident involving an aide of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

An Air India flight to Newark from Mumbai was delayed by nearly an hour on June 29.