MUMBAI, Feb 11: Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari was denied permission to use a State government aircraft to travel to Dehradun on Thursday, triggering a row and inviting a strong criticism from the Opposition BJP which sought an apology over the incident.

Koshyari was scheduled to travel by a State government aircraft to Dehradun, but the permission to use the plane was not granted even as the Governor had boarded the aircraft, sources said.

The Governor later took a commercial flight to travel to the capital of his home State of Uttarakhand, a statement from the Raj Bhavan said.

The Raj Bhavan Secretariat and the State government sought to blame each other for the incident, which added a new chapter in the uneasy ties between the ruling coalition, comprising the Shiv Sena, NCP, Congress, and the Governor.

The Raj Bhavan statement said the Governor’s Secretariat had written to the government authorities seeking permission for the use of the aircraft “well in advance” on February 2. The office of the Chief Minister was also informed about it, the statement said.

However, the Maharashtra government said the Raj Bhavan Secretariat had been informed a day earlier by the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) that approval for use of the official aircraft has not been given.

A statement from the CMO said the State government had taken serious cognisance that the official concerned at Raj Bhavan did not apprise the Governor about the communication from the government (denying nod to use the aircraft).

“The Raj Bhavan official did not confirm about the approval for use of official plane and plan the Governor’s travel schedule.

“The Chief Minister has issued directives that responsibility be fixed on the Raj Bhavan official concerned after taking serious cognisance of the developments,” the CMO statement said.

It said the Raj Bhavan Secretariat should have confirmed about availability of the official plane since non-approval for same was communicated a day earlier.

“Due to this the Governor had to face inconvenience. The State government is not to be blamed,” the CMO said. It admitted that the Raj Bhavan Secretariat had sought permission for use of the official plane.

“On February 10, the CMO communicated that no permission was given for use of the plane. The Raj Bhavan Secretariat was expected to check on the permission and then bring the Governor to the airport,” the CMO statement said.

According to the Raj Bhavan statement, Koshyari is scheduled to preside over valedictory function of the 122nd Induction Training Programme of IAS officers at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration at Mussoorie in Uttarakhand on Friday.

He was scheduled to depart from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai for Dehradun at 10 am on Thursday, the statement said. Koshyari will travel to Mussoorie from Dehradun.

“Today, on 11th February 2021, the Honble Governor reached the CSIM Airport at 1000 hrs and boarded the government plane. However, the Honble Governor was informed that the permission for the use of Government Aircraft had not been received,” the statement said.

As directed by the Governor, tickets for Dehradun were booked for the Governor on a commercial aircraft leaving Mumbai at 12.15 pm immediately and accordingly, he left for Dehradun, it said. – PTI