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Indian media digging its own grave?

In what could be termed as the ultimate abuse of Media power an Air India flight carrying Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and his entourage to the U.S. was alleged for keeping standby at the Mumbai airport for more than an hour as the reason was stated that the CM office’s Principal Secretary forgot to carry valid documents with him. Earlier, CMO expressed his inability to comment on the issue, while the Air India too did issue any statement. Later on when these issues started hitting headlines, Air India issued statement denying that the delay was due to the CM and said that the flight in which Fadnavis was to travel was delayed by 57 minutes for a various reasons. Anyway, there was social media outrage and also criticism by opposition, until Devendra Fadnavis said enough is enough!

As per media reports, Pravin Pardeshi was cleared at the check-in, but was held back as the passport he was carrying did not have a valid US visa. He had a valid US visa on his old passport and he arranged to bring it, only after which he was allowed to proceed to the aircraft. Congress has targeted Fadnavis over the issue, with the former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan demanding that he should apologise if he had caused the delay. Reports have surfaced that passengers of two Air India flights have been inconvenienced because of Union Minister Kiren Rijiju and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Looking at the ongoing controversy, the Prime Minister’s Office sought a report from the Civil Aviation Ministry on allegations that Union Minister Kiren Rijiju and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had caused inconvenience to passengers of Air India owing to their VIP status. After Devendra incidence another media report surfaced that on June 24, three members of a family, including a child, were offloaded from the Leh-Delhi Air India flight at Leh to accommodate Rijiju along with Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh and an aide. This also led to some delay in the flight. Later on Rijiju had claimed it was not a “delay” as the departure of the flight was pre-poned and the door of the air craft was closed for takeoff.

Finally, an angry Fadnavis had tweeted that he would file for defamation once he will be back in the country over the controversy of his delegation delaying the Air India flight from Mumbai to New York on June 29. Devendra was attacked on social network; he was slammed by BJP ally Shiv Sena and also by journalists. All of sudden the entire story got twisted to another directions.

Finally, two passengers travelling on the same US-bound Air India aircraft from Mumbai as Fadnavis have come out in his support, saying he did not delay the flight even as he has threatened legal action once he returns to India. A co passenger tweeted that he was present in the flight AI 191. CM and delegation reached in time. Flight delayed due to immigration problem. According to his Twitter profile @dushyantkagarwa, he is an author and freelance journalist based in Udaipur.

Another Twitter user Arvind Shah tweeted, “@Dev_Fadnavis I was in AI 191 and sitting behind CM in seat (8D), He neither called nor tried to delay flight, he was busy reading file”.

Both the tweets were retweeted by Fadnavis, who had first denied the allegation that he had forced to delay the flight to New York in a tweet on June 30. He had said the allegations were “false and misleading”. The incident took place on Monday when Fadnavis was leaving on week-long visit to the US along with industries minister Subhash Desai, chief secretary Swadheen Kshatriya and principal secretary Pravin Pardeshi.

Arnab Goswami of Times Now went gaga over this issue, in his loud and impatient voice he raised thousands of questions, without taking single breath in between. He was too much concerned about the aam aadmi having to pay Rs 12 for a cup of tea and minister having the same at 2 rupees to misusing VVIP status. The outrage began with his channel and him. Why media is too much in a hurry to gain TRP, attack and abuse? Here the big question is, how will Arnab prove the co-passengers wrong? Or he will further come up with a logic that they are managed by Maharashtra CM to do so by tweeting in his favour before he returns to India?

Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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