Despite waiting for a few hours at the Defence Minister’s office, O Panneerselvam returned to Chennai unable to meet the minister on Tuesday.

Stalin calls for resignation of OPS and Nirmala Sitharaman over air-ambulance row
news Politics Wednesday, July 25, 2018 - 19:04

DMK Working President MK Stalin called for the resignation of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu O Panneerselvam over a military air-ambulance provided to O Panneerselvam’s brother who was critically ill a few days ago.

Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Stalin said, “O Panneerselvam had said that he was in New Delhi to express his heartfelt thanks to the Defence Minister for having provided an air ambulance facility when his brother was not well. It is a mystery that how can a military helicopter facility be provided to an individual. Hence O Panneerselvam who enjoyed the facility and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman who permitted the facility for the use of a private individual must resign from their posts.”

Many BJP members however took to social media saying that the air ambulance had been paid for by O Panneerselvam.

On Tuesday, O Panneerselvam waited at her office for a few hours, expecting a short meeting with her, to thank her for the gesture. But, it was later revealed that the Minister did not meet O Panneerselvam and that she met only the ADMK MP V Maitreyan. It was further confirmed in a tweet from the office of the defence minister that said, “Appointment was given to Shri V. Maitreyan, MP Rajya Sabha. Deputy CM of Tamil Nadu, Shri O. Panneerselvam has not met Smt @nsitharaman.”

Following the snub, O Panneerselvam also spoke to the media and said that one must have a heart that tolerates anything that happens, referring to the snub by the Defence Minister.

However, this revelation by O Panneerselvam has led to many in the political circles wonder about the legality of a defence air ambulance being provided to a private person.

V Narayanan, a spokesperson of the Indian National Congress tweeted about the issue on Wednesday. “@CMOTamilNadu  sd, “ @OfficeOfOPS has gone to thank the Defence Minister for providing air ambulance to bring his brother for emergency medical treatment recently.” is it LEGAL @nsitharaman even if it's humane,” said the tweet.

Others questioned how the ambulance was used for an individual, in the absence of a disaster.