Central minister named for assaulting airline official (Lead, changing dateline)

November 4th, 2008 - 8:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna/Kolkata, Nov 4 (IANS) Central minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MP Akhilesh Prasad Singh has been named for allegedly abusing and assaulting an airline official at Patna airport after he was disallowed to board a flight to Kolkata as he reported late, the police said Tuesday. The minister denied the allegation.A first information report (FIR) was lodged against the minister of state for food and civil supplies at the Patna airport police station late Monday night after he allegedly slapped the airport manager of Kingfisher Airlines.

“I have lodged a case against Singh for abusing and slapping me in front of airport officials and others when I expressed my helplessness to accommodate him on board the aircraft scheduled to depart for Kolkata,” said Sagar Nath Das, the airline’s airport manager.

The airline official added that he was initially reluctant to file a case against the minister as he feared a threat to his life.

Speaking to the media in Kolkata, the minister denied all charges against him.

“I have not slapped any Kingfisher Airlines employee. It was just that the airlines cancelled my ticket to the Patna-Kolkata flight on Monday without any prior information. That led to a minor verbal altercation between a Kingfisher official and my secretary,” Singh told reporters on the sidelines of a press conference here Tuesday.

“I heard that the Kingfisher official has lodged an FIR against me. There were some talks about issuing a non-bailable warrant against me as well. But before I take any action, I need to confirm if the news is right or just an exaggeration of the media,” he said.

According to a Kingfisher Airlines official, Singh booked his ticket to Kolkata from Patna through Mamta Travel Agency.

“Someone from the agency cancelled the ticket over the phone Monday, saying Singh won’t be going to Kolkata that day. But Singh reached the airport to board the 8.30 p.m. flight. When he was not allowed to board the flight, he started shouting at the airline officials and slapped Kingfisher station manager Sagar Nath Das,” the official said, requesting anonymity.

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