Congress leader Rahul Gandhi sought to nip in the bud a possible controversy on Tuesday, when he made it clear that he did not force the helicopter pilot to land in zero visibility conditions in Sitapur on Monday evening.
"I am a pilot and I am absolutely aware of the dangers of flying in low visibility conditions.I will be the last person to do it," he told a press conference, dismissing Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee president Rita Bahuguna Joshi's comments that he had forced the pilot to land in bad conditions.
"The PCC president is not a pilot. I have not put any pressure on the pilot. The pilot called me aside this morning and told me that the media was creating a controversy and putting my job in trouble. He has not broken any rule. You are making a story and destroying their career. This is not fair," he said.
To questions on Joshi's remarks, 39-year-old Gandhi said that she is not a pilot and she is also not a weather expert. There was plenty of visibility when the helicopter landed, he said. Joshi had earlier said Rahul had asked the pilot of the helicopter to land in "zero visibility" just to fulfill his commitment of meeting people.
Gandhi said it was not fair to state that the helicopter landed in zero visibility and he would be absolutely the last person who will do that. "Absolutely, no. You can also ask the Special Protection Group (SPG) if I have broken any rules or procedures," he said, adding that one should check up with the SPG director that on every occasion he has taken permission and done things.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has now decided to probe the landing of the helicopter carrying Gandhi.
Official sources said the statements of the two pilots of the helicopter and the district magistrate of Sitapur would be recorded in a couple of days.