New Delhi: Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju on Saturday denied reports of a lizard being found in the food tray of a passenger on-board an Air India flight.
"We are in touch with Air India's management. As per them, there has been no complaint, no passenger or person has come forward to claim that this picture was taken by him or her even now," Raju told IANS here.
"According to Air India the matter seems to have been fabricated and is a hoax. They are still investigating the matter, that who is behind it," Raju said adding that the evidence till now suggests that there is no truth in the story.
On its part, national passenger carrier Air India has denied reports of a lizard being found in the food tray of a passenger on board its New Delhi-London flight.
The airline has termed it a "hoax" to tarnish its image.
"This incident never happened. As there is no record of it, no complaint that was filed either in London, New Delhi or on-board the flight. No cabin crew or even the other passengers on the flight were aware of such an incident and no one has come forward to complain even now," a senior Air India official in New Delhi told IANS.
"It is clearly a hoax. This all started with a picture appearing on Twitter. We are investigating the matter, as to who has placed the picture, and what is the claim of that person," the official added.
The airline has warned that if the incident actually turns out to be a hoax, which it is certain of, then it may also resort to legal action.
"Our food is catered by India's best hospitality chain, the Taj and Gate Gourmet. The Tajsats and Gate Gourmet deliver one of the finest and award winning in-flight food. This is all being done to tarnish our image," the official added.
According to industry sources, the alleged incident blew up when a picture was posted on Twitter, that showed what seemed to be a small 'lizard' on the food tray of a passenger. The photo has ever since gone viral.
Other sources claim that the incident took place on AI-111, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner that took-off on Thursday from New Delhi's IGI airport for London.
During a 10-hour flight, the airline serves an unlimited number of snacks and two main courses depending on the time of operations.