AI denies treating Olympic shooter ‘like a criminal’ for carrying guns on plane

Manu Bhaker claims she was denied boarding permission on the first instance despite having permits for her equipment and asked to furnish bribe

Manu Bhaker, Saurabh Chaudhary, Yashaswini Singh Deswal, Abhishek Verma, ISSF, Shooting, World Cup
Manu Bhaker (right) was travelling from Delhi to Bhopal to attend the MP Shooting Academy, on Friday, when, according to her, the carrier denied her boarding permission on the first instance. Photo: PTI

Air India has denied Olympic shooter Manu Bhaker’s claims that she was treated “like a criminal” for carrying her guns on board an aircraft.

The 19-year-old was travelling from Delhi to Bhopal to attend the MP Shooting Academy, on Friday, when, according to her, the carrier denied her boarding permission on the first instance.

Taking to Twitter, the Arjuna awardee claimed that AI cited lack of permits to carry her guns and ammunition, with one official even demanding a bribe.

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“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 @narendramodi @HardeepSPuri @AmitShah @VasundharaBJP shall I pay this Bribes or!!!!” she wrote on Twitter.

Later in the day, the AI tweeted her: “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. 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.”

“Immediately after the official valid documents were shown by you at the boarding point, u were allowed to board.

It may please be noted that Air India has always encouraged and respected Sportspersons and have many an eminent sports legends working with us.”

Manu thanked Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju for ensuring she boarded the flight.

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