New Delhi: Political strategist and former JD(U) vice president Prashant Kishor denied having travelled to Kolkata recently after reports emerged that he took a cargo flight to the West Bengal capital.
Speaking to ThePrint, Kishor said, “I haven’t taken any flight. The last time I was at the airport for that matter was on 19 March.”
However, when ThePrint asked if he traveled at all in the past few days to Kolkata, even by road, Kishor refused to comment.
Reports emerged that the political strategist flew to Kolkata after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee summoned him to counter-strategise against the Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT).
IMCT was sent to Kolkata, Howrah, Medinipur East, 24 Parganas North, Darjeeling, Kalimpong, and Jalpaiguri districts to assess the ground reality in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Let’s stick to what is in the public domain and what the Centre has sought a report about. If anyone had any other proof, they should come out in the open with that first, only then I will respond,” Kishor said.
Quoting top aviation sources, news agency ANI had reported that “on the directions of the government, aviation security authorities have checked the CCTV footage of three airports — Delhi, Kolkata and Guwahati — of the last 72 hours” to ascertain if Kishore had travelled recently.
Since the lockdown was imposed on 25 March, flights and trains have been cancelled to prevent movement and a further spread of the disease that has so far infected more than 23,000 people in India.
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What civil aviation authorities say
A source in the aviation regulatory body Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) told ThePrint that Kishor did not travel by a cargo flight from Delhi to Kolkata.
“We have checked with the three cargo operators, who operated to Kolkata, scanned the CCTV footage of all these departures and arrivals at the respective airports and also checked with other agencies operating at the airport,” the source told ThePrint.
The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security also said it didn’t have any information on Kishor travelling by air to Kolkata.
“He did not travel by air. We do not have any such information,” a source said.
ANI quoted Prashant as saying that those claiming that he took a cargo or for that matter, any flight, “should at least have basic information like flight number, flight operator, date time, etc., in the public domain or apologise for making such a statement”.
Kishore, though did not clarify his current location and his travel history.
(With ANI inputs)
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