Congress leader and Parliamentarian Renuka Chowdhary's alleged shopping spree at the Delhi international airport resulted in delay of Air India's Chicago-Delhi-Hyderabad flight (AI-126) by 45 minutes on Friday.
"Last Friday, former Union Minister, and Congress Rajya Sabha MP Renuka Chowdhary was travelling to Hyderabad on...AI-126 which was scheduled to take off at 1900 hours. Chowdhary did not turn up on time despite repeated announcements of the final call by the airline staff. She finally turned up after scheduled departure time but not before the pilot had missed his turn in the departure sequence," Zee News quoted its sources as saying.
The passengers on board the AI flight were enraged when they were told the reason behind the delay. At least 276 passengers, including some Supreme Court judges, were on board the plane.
The reason the flight could not take off without Chowdhary was because her baggage was checked-in into the flight and it would have taken plenty of time to offload it minutes before departure, according to civil aviation ministry.
"The only reason why the flight was held up was because she had checked-in her baggage. Identifying and offloading her baggage would have taken a lot of time," Hindustan Times quoted a civil aviation ministry official as saying.
Chowdhary has however, refuted the allegations calling it "bizarre, baseless, false and malicious" and said she was not busy shopping but instead was waiting for the buggy to take her to the departure gate as she has a knee injury.
"I am a patient. I have a knee injury for the past six months. My staff had in advance requested for a buggy at the airport, which was parked after you cross the shopping area. I somehow limped and walked as fast as I could," Chowdhury said, adding that she had been requesting for a buggy at all airports for the past six months. "Please ask them where I shopped and what I bought? How dare they accuse me of that?" Chowdhary said.