Bengaluru, Jan 20 (IANS): Tamil Nadu BJP President K. Annamalai said on Thursday that BJP MP from Bengaluru South, Tejasvi Surya, did not open the emergency exit of an IndiGo aircraft they were travelling in recently.
Surya is being targeted by the opposition Congress in Karnataka over the issue after reports emerged that it was the BJP MP who had allegedly pulled open the emergency exit of an IndiGo flight before take-off at the Chennai airport in December last year.
Speaking to the media in Chikkamagaluru, Annamalai said that he was accompanying Surya in the flight when the alleged incident took place on December 2, last year.
"We were travelling in an ATR-72 aircraft in which the emergency exit door was located in the front. Tejasvi Surya had placed his hand on the door as his seat did not have an arm-rest. At that point, he drew my attention to some gaps in the door beading. So I informed the air hostess who reported the matter to the pilot," Annamalai said.
Annamalai, a former IPS officer who had worked as the superintendent of police in Chikkamagaluru, insisted that Surya did not open the emergency door at all.
"He did not pull the door. He was simply resting his hand on it. Surya is an educated and widely-travelled person. Why will he pull the door? Moreover, this incident occurred while the boarding process was still on, so the passengers were deboarded till the door was fixed and the flight was cleared for take-off."
Annamalai also attacked the Karnataka Congress leaders for triggering a controversy on the issue.
"They don't have anything else to target the BJP and that's why they're picking up this issue," he said.
The controversy was triggered on Tuesday afte IndiGo released a statement saying that a passenger had opened the emergency exit of its Chennai-Tiruchirapalli flight on December 10, 2022, leading to a two-hour delay in flight departure.
While the airline did not name the passenger responsible, some passengers travelling on the same flight had confirmed that it was Tejasvi Surya.
Meanwhile, Surya has maintained silence over the issue.
When approached for his comments on Tuesday, the MP's office had told IANS that a statement would be issued soon. However, no clarification has come from the MP thus far.