Angry over the treatment meted out to him by Air India, Shiv Sena’s Lok Sabha MP Ravindra Gaikwad today thrashed a 61-year-old Air India official with his slipper 25 times at the Delhi’s IGI airport.
The airline has filed two FIRs against him on charges of assaulting Sukumar Raman of AISATS, Air India’s ground handling firm, and for delaying the flight.
“I wanted a business class seat which he couldn’t arrange for me. I hit him several times with my slipper”, Gaikwad said. Air India has said there was no business class in the all-economy flight.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena has also sought an explanation from the defiant Lok Sabha MP in the assault case.
Read for details of what happened at the Air India flight AI 852 from Pune to Delhi.
- Air India’s flight, in which the MP Ravindra Gaikwad was travelling, landed at IGI Airport at 9:35 am from Pune. After arrival of the flight, all passengers disembarked except the MP.
- “Gaikwad was holding open business class ticket and wanted to travel on this flight. The MP’s PA was in touch with our Pune Airport manager from yesterday regarding the travel of the MP to Delhi,” an Air India statement said. The airport manager told the PA this is an all economy flight operated regularly.
- Since the MP wanted to travel on this flight he was alloted the seat in the first row itself since there is no business class on this flight. The MP refused to come out of the aircraft for almost an hour.
- Harendra Singh, deputy general manager (commercial) of Delhi Airport, said at around 10.30 AM they received a complaint that the MP was refusing to deplane.
- In his complaint letter, a copy of which is with India Today, the victim wrote: “We later came to know that one passenger seated in seat 1F was refusing to get down from the flight as the aircraft has to proceed to Goa..” Raman goes on, “I then went to the aircraft and tried to persuade the passenger”.
- “We had to send the flight to Goa and approximately 115 passengers were waiting to board the aircraft but he wanted the top management inside the aircraft…”. In a highly agitated state, Gaikwad refused to come out of the aircraft till senior officials of the rank of chairman and other directors came to meet him to address his compliant on the spot.
- The adamant MP delayed the flight by 40 minutes for his ego and thus not only troubled other passengers but also incurred losses for the airline.
- With great difficulty the passenger was calmed and finally agreed to leave the aircraft.Since the aircraft was positioned at the remote bay a car was made available for him and officials escorted the passenger till arrival exit gate.
- On subsequent investigation with Surendra Kundu, customer services officer at arrival gate, it was learnt that the passenger got very upset when Sukumar told the MP that he was an elected representative of the people and should conduct himself accordingly.
- Reacting to the statement Gaikwad took out his slipper and hit Sukumar and pushed him out of the arrival exit door. Crew members and other officials intervened and physically restrained Gaikwad from causing further harm to Sukumar.
- “He became very abusive and used foul language and bad words against me,” alleges the 61-year-old Raman. “He started hitting me and the staff who was present tried to save me and he also tried to throw me out,” says Raman in his complaint.
- He ends his page-long complaint letter, filed at 1.10 pm, with this: “God save our country if this is the culture and behaviour of our MPs”. Unrepentant, the MP in a chat with India Today said, “Hume charbi utarna ata hai”.
- Air India after enquiring into the incident filed two FIR’s with the police at Delhi.One FIR is for assaulting the employee and the second FIR is for delaying the flight for 40 minutes. Air India is also examining the creation of a “no fly list” of unruly passengers on the lines of other carriers.
- Later on in the day, Shiv Sena sought explanation from Gaikwad. “The party has sought an explanation from Gaikwad over the incident. The Sena does not condone violence of any kind,” Harshal Pradhan, media adviser to Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, told PTI. “We have also sought a version of the incident from the Air India (AI) staffer. The Sena has a workers’ union in Air India,” he said.
- The party has already distanced itself from the incident. Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande said, “Shiv Sena does not subscribe to such reaction by any of our party members. Gaikwad is known as Ravi Sir and is very popular in his constituency. He has worked a lot towards solving the water problems of his region. We really should know what made him lose his temper. He is not a person who would suddenly jump into such a thing”.
Source – Indiatoday