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Who helped TDP MP Diwakar Reddy fly? Centre seeks report

According to IndiGo officials, Reddy had arrived at Vizag airport 28 minutes before the flight was set for departure.

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Updated: Jun 18, 2017, 01.06 PM IST
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(This story originally appeared in on Jun 17, 2017)
NEW DELHI: The civil aviation ministry has sought a report from the Visakhapatnam airport director on how TDP MP Diwakar Reddy managed to fly on IndiGo's Visakhapatnam-Hyderabad flight 6E 608 on Thursday despite being denied permission to board the aircraft. Aviation secretary RN Choubey confirmed this on Friday.

While officials admit that "someone helped" Reddy, no one is willing to comment till the report is out. IndiGo, too, did not comment on why it was forced to fly Reddy.

Aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, who was at the airport when Reddy went on the rampage after being denied boarding pass initially, said on Friday that he did not intervene to help his fellow TDP parliamentarian get on the IndiGo flight. Raju tweeted, "There was no such intervention...I will get the entire incident at Vizag airport enquired into to find out the exact details and ensure that lawful outcomes follow."

According to IndiGo officials, Reddy had arrived at Vizag airport 28 minutes before the flight was set for departure. Since check-in for flights closes 45 minutes before a flight takes off, the TDP parliamentarian was denied boarding permission. This led to him going on the rampage in the airport.

Civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapati Raju was also at the airport when the ruckus was on. Reddy claimed that he had spoken to Raju and had sought his help. What happened is not clear, but Reddy eventually took the flight to Hyderabad, that he was initially stopped from boarding.

"The MP sought the minister's help but Raju said he will not intervene. He told Reddy CCTV footage will be examined to see who is at fault," a close aide of the minister said.

Almost all Indian carriers have banned Reddy from their flights due to his allegedly disruptive behaviour. But how long the ban will last remains to be seen.

Just like Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad, a letter of regret may be enough to get the aviation ministry to order airlines to start flying Reddy again. "Gaikwad and Reddy are lucky as both have committed violent acts in an aircraft and at an airport before the no-fly list comes into force. For people put on this list, it could mean ban on flying for up to a lifetime. But unruly acts committed before the list comes into force means both these MPs will go scot-free," said an airline official.

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