'I did not force pilot to land in zero visibility'
Contradicting Uttar Pradesh Congress president Rita Bahuguna Joshi, party general secretary and MP Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said he did not force his helicopter pilot to land in zero visibility in Sitapur district.lucknow Updated: Dec 08, 2009 19:29 IST
Contradicting Uttar Pradesh Congress president Rita Bahuguna Joshi, party general secretary and MP Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said he did not force his helicopter pilot to land in zero visibility in Sitapur district.
The controversy started after Joshi told reporters in Sitapur that Gandhi had forced the pilot to land in "zero visibility" Monday night.
"The pilot was just not ready to land the helicopter, but Rahulji forced him to do so and the chopper landed in zero visibility," Joshi told reporters Monday night.
"It displays Rahulji's commitment...Actually he had promised to meet backward class people in Sitapur. So, even after the delay, while he was going to Hardoi, he insisted that the pilot land the chopper at night in Sitapur," said Joshi.
But Gandhi, who is on a two-day trip to the state, denied that he had ever done so.
"I did not force my pilot to land in poor visibility. I am a pilot myself and I know the rules. Our UP president is not a pilot neither is she a weather expert to talk about this," he said at a press conference.
He said the media was creating a story out of nothing and destroying the pilot's career.
"The pilot took me aside and told me that my career is over as the media has reported this. He personally told me that he was the last person to land in zero visibility. This is not fair to him. There was plenty of visibility and the report about zero visibility was completely wrong," he said.
The MP from Amethi also refuted reports of him breaking security cover to meet people during his visits.
"Ask the Special Protection Group (SPG) and they will tell you that not once have I broken any security cover," Gandhi said.