Tamil Nadu BJP President K Annamalai has defended party colleague Tejasvi Surya, facing flak over the Indigo Airline emergency exit issue, saying the incident involving the Bengaluru South MP was "accidental" and "by mistake." Though it was accidental, Mr Surya wanted to "set an example" and explained to the other passengers on what happened, as he was an MP, Mr Annamalai told reporters here late on Thursday.
Mr Surya has come under criticism from the Congress over the incident, which happened on December 10 last year at the Chennai airport where he opened the emergency exit of a Tiruchirappally-bound IndiGo plane and apologised for it.
Mr Surya was seated near him that day, Mr Annamalai recalled, adding he was adjusting the air-conditioner vent and also constantly getting up as some fellow passengers came over to meet them, with a few clicking selfies.
The BJP youth wing leader then told Mr Annamalai to take a look at the emergency exit saying it was "slightly open", following which the matter was reported to the crew which in turn summoned the engineer to inspect, the state BJP leader said.
After the technical inspection, the cabin was pressurised again and the Indigo personnel got an incident report form from Mr Surya, Mr Annamalai said.
Since many passengers from an earlier flight that was cancelled were accommodated in this one and had already suffered delay, Mr Surya explained to them what happened "though he was not the reason" for the delay of the aircraft in contention, Mr Annamalai said.
This was to "set an example" as he was an MP and in public service, the former IPS officer said.
"Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya scindia has said clearly that the door opened accidentally. Tejasvi apologised for the incovenience...the DGCA and Indigo have said the same thing," Mr Annamalai said referring to their statements.
"The fact is an emergency door cannot be opened so easily. It is an incident that happened by mistake. Congress made an issue since they did not have anything else," Mr Annamalai added.
Had someone done a deliberate mischief, security officials would file FIR and deboard the passenger. "Everybody knows it was done by mistake. It is not an issue at all," he said.
Such an incident could have happened even if someone else was seated there, he added.
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