A Defence spokesperson said on Friday that the Union Defence Ministry had neither accorded nor denied landing permission for an aircraft carrying Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at the Naval airport in Kochi.
The clarification came after the Congress alleged that the Ministry of Defence denied landing permission for Gandhi's chartered flight at the Naval facility early on Friday.
The defence spokesperson told PTI that the request for "an unscheduled chartered flight along with the flight plan" was received at INS Garuda air station at Kochi at 09.40 am on Friday and at Navy HQ at about 10.15 am for takeoff from Kannur Airport at 10.45 am.
"Due to the delayed request and paucity of time prior to the departure of the flight, the clearance for the same could not be processed," he told PTI.
Earlier in the day, Ernakulam DCC president Mohammed Shiyas alleged that the Defence Ministry had initially granted permission for the aircraft's landing at the Naval facility but later withdrew it.
Consequently, the aircraft carrying Gandhi from Kannur was directed to the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) in nearby Nedumbassery, he had said.
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