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'Enough is enough': Fadnavis warns of criminal proceedings against 'misleading reports' in AI flight delay row

Facing strong criticism for allegedly delaying a flight by about an hour, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday lashed out at the media for reports on this incident and said that he will initiate "proceedings of criminal defamation" once he is back in India.

 Enough is enough: Fadnavis warns of criminal proceedings against misleading reports in AI flight delay row

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis lashed out at reports saying he had delayed a flight.

Fadnavis on Monday had left for a week-long official trip to US where a series of meetings with trade, commerce and industry houses were lined up. "I reiterate, the reports of me delaying flight are misleading. Infact, when I'd already boarded how can I say I won't travel without delegation?" Fadnavis tweeted.

"If at all any report that has been submitted states that I refused to travel without my delegation then it is a blatant lie because passengers sitting besides & behind me are witness that I was sitting quietly waiting for departure. Not even once I asked to offload me," he further said on Twitter.

"Enough is enough. Once I m back to India, I will initiate proceedings of criminal defamation," tweeted the Maharashtra Chief Minister.

Fadnavis had landed himself in a controversy when reports emerged that an Air India flight, which was carrying around 250 passengers, had been delayed because Fadnavis' principal secretary Pravin Pardeshi had got his old passport to the airport.

Pardeshi had been cleared at the check-in but was held back before boarding as the passport he was carrying did not have the valid US visa, sources told PTI.

It was also reported that Pardeshi had got a valid US visa in his old passport but this was not reflected in the new one which he had been carrying. He had quickly arranged to bring his old passport which had valid US visa stamp after which he had been allowed to proceed to the aircraft.

CM Fadnavis, however, had denied the allegations against him. "The allegation that I forced delay of the flight to Newark is false and misleading," he had said.

Air India had also said in a statement, ‪"The flight, AI 191 of 29th June, 2015 was delayed by a total of 57 minutes. The delay was partly due to technical/operational reasons, and also the ATC."

Fadnavis received a lot of criticism following this incident. Congress leader and former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Thursday had demanded an apology from him for causing inconvenience to over 200 passengers.

"If Fadnavis did request for delaying the flight, then he must apologise," Chavan had said. "Nobody can delay the flight except for safety reasons. By interfering with the flight procedure, Fadnavis inconvenienced the hundreds of passengers on board."

(With inputs from PTI)

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Updated Date: Jul 02, 2015 20:16:35 IST