Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday announced that two parallel probes — by his own government and by the civil aviation ministry — will be conducted into the delay of the Air India flight he took to the US two weeks ago, which allegedly happened because his aide, IAS officer Praveen Pardeshi, forgot his visa at home.
Fadnavis said his government was inquiring into all the facts. “We have asked the central ministry to inquire into the real cause of the delay; whether I insisted on delaying the take-off; if I threatened to offload and about the two clearances given to the officer at the airport. We also are inquiring at our level,” he said.
An Air India flight from Mumbai got delayed by nearly an hour as Pardeshi did not have his documents. The internal report by the Air India, which apparently said the CM refused to fly without his principal secretary, was also being probed, Fadnavis said.
Pardeshi had forgotten his old passport, which had his valid visa to the US, resulting in the authorities denying him permission to board the flight.
The CM-led delegation was on a nine-day visit to the US and Pardeshi was one of the four IAS officers on the delegations.
Fadnavis had tweeted from the US denying he had pressured the authorities to delay take-off and threatened criminal proceedings against those he accused of defaming him.
On Sunday, he said, “The passengers sitting next to me and behind me are witness that I was not involved in the entire episode. The passengers, whom I do not know, had on their own tweeted the facts. The probes will bring the facts to the fore.”