The Centre has gone into a tizzy after a media publication reported that political analyst, Mr. Prashant Kishor, managed to fly from Delhi to Kolkata in a cargo flight during the lockdown.
The government hasn’t been able to find any evidence till now. On Thursday, the Ministry of Home Affairs asked the Civil Aviation ministry to find out details following which civil aviation regulator DGCA and aviation security agency BCAS began investigating the matter, people aware of the development said.
The report claimed that Mr. Kishor flew to Kolkata defying lockdown after being summoned by West Bengal Chief Minister, according to the report. The Chief Minister, Ms. Mamata Banerjee, had summoned him to counter the Centre’s claim of the state government’s inability to handle the coronavirus outbreak in the state.
Mr. Kishor’s organisation, I-PAC, a political advocacy group is currently handling the re-election campaign of Trinamool Congress' for the 2021 West Bengal Assembly polls to aid Ms. Mamata Banerjee's bid for a third consecutive term.
Mr. Prashant Kishor however categorically denied that he took a flight during the lockdown but wouldn’t comment on how he managed to reach Kolkata. 'There is no truth in the report of me taking a cargo plane or for that matter any plane to fly from Delhi to Kolkata during the lockdown. If anyone claims to have information contrary to this, they should put it out in the public domain,' Mr. Kishor said.
He added that the last time he had boarded a flight was from the Delhi airport on March 19 - before the lockdown was enforced.
The political strategist, according to sources, is in Kolkata right now. Sources said that Mr. Kishor had travelled to Guwahati from Kolkata but didn’t reveal the timeline of his travel.
'The DGCA has enquired from all airlines operating cargo flights between Delhi-Kolkata if anyone has carried Mr. Kishor. Airlines have categorically denied this and have informed the regulator that only essential supply and medicines were carried and there was no violation of any rules,' said an executive.