Air India was informed about the death of the 23-year-old gangrape victim around 3am on Saturday and asked to arrange a plane to carry her body back from Singapore.
Around the same time, police and Safdarjung hospital authorities were asked to get their representatives prepared to go to the southeast Asian country.
An Airbus 319, which was at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, was made available and pilots were called to report on duty.
“The ministry of home affairs wanted to use the 114-seater plane to bring back the woman’s body as it was ready. The plane left at 8am with four government officials,” an official of the national carrier, requesting anonymity, said.
According to police sources, Vasant Vihar station house officer (SHO) Anil Sharma, Safdarjung Enclave SHO Sandeep Ghai and ACP (Defence Colony) Benita Mary Jenkis boarded the plane along with Safdarjung hospital public relations officer SN Makwana. The flight reached Singapore airport at 12.30pm IST.
The plane was ready to leave Singapore by 2pm with the woman's body and her family members, but the departure was scheduled for two hour later. Sources suggested that the police were trying to reason with the family members to go straight to Ballia, the woman’s hometown.
The flight left around 10.45pm and is expected to reach Delhi around 3.30am.
“If they must go to Ballia, they will have to land at the Varanasi airport. But the airport does not have night-landing facility.
A home ministry panel will have to take a call,” the Air India official added. Sources said the four persons who were asked to go to Singapore had become close to the family members.
“The ACP and the Safdarjung PRO were with her from Day One,” a doctor at the Safdarjung hospital said.