Owning "moral responsibility" for the Mangalore air crash, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel is tonight believed to have offered to resign to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who reportedly turned down the offer.
Patel, who met Singh after visiting the crash site in Mangalore, conveyed his "deep sense of anguish" over the tragedy in which 158 people lost their lives.
He is understood to have told Singh that over the last six years he had done a lot for the development of civil aviation sector and whatever might have been the cause of the accident, he had "moral responsibility" for the mishap as the head of the "civil aviation family".
Singh is believed to have told Patel that there was no need for him to resign and that he should focus on facing the situation.
PMO officials declined to comment.
Patel, on emerging from the 30-minute meeting with Singh, he felt "personally morally responsible for such a sad and tragic incident".
Asked by reporters as to what the Prime Minister's direction to him was, he said Singh told him "not to be overcome by the situation" but to face it.
"Certain things are beyond our control... If there are any mistakes to be corrected, they should be corrected," Patel quoted Singh as telling him.
When pressed by reporters as to whether he offered to quit, Patel said, "all issues between me and the Prime Minister need not be discussed in public."