One of India’s brightest hope at the Tokyo Olympics, shooter Manu Bhaker ran into trouble while boarding a plane at the Delhi airport. Bhaker, who has booked a place at the Tokyo Games in the 10m air pistol event, was traveling to Bhopal for training purposes. But she was withheld at the Delhi airport for carrying guns and ammunition.
“Not allowing me to board flight AI 437 at IGI Delhi and asking now 10200rs Despite all valid Documentation and DGCA permit. Top of that Manoj Gupta Air india incharge doesn’t recognise DGCA. Shall I pay this Bribes or!!!!” she tweeted.
She alleged that the airport official demanded a bribe to let her board the plane. Bhaker tweeted informing that she was harassed by the security officials for refusing to pay the bribe. She tweeted about the whole incident seeking help from the sports minister, Kiren Rijiju and the aviation minister. She then went on to express her disgust at the treatment she received despite being a reputed sportsperson.
Air India responds
Following the whole incident, Air India issued a statement. They clarified that Bhaker wasn’t asked for any bribe. Instead, it was the penalty amount she was being informed about in case she lacked the proper documentation.
“Dear Ms Bhaker, Our Delhi Airport team has confirmed that the official at our counter had only sought for valid documents as per rules for carriage of your weapon on board,” the tweet read.
“In absence of the same, legitimate specified charges for the arms were conveyed to you. No one sought a ‘bribe’ as has been alleged. You were issued boarding pass on your assurance of furnishing valid documents before boarding,” they added.
Bhaker then posted a detailed timeline of the events. And she even challenged Air India to check the CCTV footage and correct her if he is wrong. Nonetheless, she boarded the plane and thanked one and all who supported her, especially sports minister Mr. Rijiju.