Sena MP beats AI official with sandal

Sena MP beats AI official with sandal
Sena MP beats AI official with sandal
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Denied business class seat, Sena MP beats AI official with sandal

NEW DELHI: Upset at being seated in the economy section of an aircraft with no business seats, a Ravindra Gaikwad, the Lok Sabha MP accused of this unprecedented high-handedness, had taken flight AI 852 from Pune to Delhi to attend the ongoing Parliament session.

Sena MP beats AI official with sandal

The Osmanabad MP had an open (undated) business class ticket and wanted to travel on this flight. His staff was told in advance that AI 852 was an all-economy flight. Since Gaikwad wanted to take this flight, he was allotted a front row seat, airline sources said.

Highlights

  • Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad hit an Air India staff member with his slippers
  • Gaikwad claimed he was made to travel in economy class despite having a business class ticket
  • Air India has called for a report on the incident and will then decide on action to be taken

Trouble broke out after the plane landed in Delhi at 9.35am, when all passengers embarked from the plane except the Shiv Sena MP. AI staffer Sukumar Raman, 60, who was beaten up, was among those trying to get Gaikwad off the plane. The Airbus A-320 was supposed to fly to Goa at 10.55am after cleaning and catering.

AI has filed two police complaints against the MP and is now mulling a no-fly list where unruly flyers like Gaikwad can be barred from getting on board. Delhi Police said it had received separate complaints from Air India and Sukumar Raman, the staffer who was beaten up, and would register FIRs after consulting legal experts.

“(I told him) 115 passengers were waiting to board the aircraft but he wanted the top management inside the aircraft. (On saying that’s not possible) he became very abusive and used foul language… He started beating me and took out his slippers and started hitting me,” Raman said in his written complaint to the airline.

“He also tried to throw me out (of the aircraft) from the step ladder but the staff prevented him from doing so. Broke my specs and tore button of cardigan, and humiliated me in front of staff. God save our country if this is the culture and behaviour of our MPs,” Raman’s complaint added.

AI’s own report on this episode says: “Gaikwad had got very upset when Sukumar said that he was an elected representative of the people and should conduct himself accordingly. Reacting to this, Gaikwad took out his slipper and hit Sukumar… pushed him out of the aircraft exit door. Crew members intervened and physically restrained Gaikwad from causing further harm to Sukumar.”

An unrepentant MP told the media: “Ek baar nahin, pachchees baar mara (with slippers). I am not a BJP MP. I am a Shiv Sena MP and will not tolerate any insult. Wo French daadi bola PM se complain karega (The man with a French cut said he would complain to the PM). Let him complain. I will complain to the speaker and other authorities.”

AI has lodged two complaints against the MP, one for assaulting Sukumar and for wrongly holding up the aircraft for 40 minutes.

Aviation minister Jayant Sinha tweeted: “Unruly behaviour and violence on our aviation network is regrettable. Each such incident will be investigated and appropriate action taken.”

This is not the first time that elected representatives have misbehaved with AI staff. In November 2015, a YSR Congress MP had slapped an AI station manager at Tirupati airport+ for refusing to accept him and his relatives on a flight for which boarding had been closed. The MP and his entourage had reached the Tirupati airport 20-25 minutes before flight departure time while boarding counters for domestic flights close 45 minutes ahead of departure.

And before that, a Bihar politician had misbehaved with an air-hostess of a private airlines. The scared air-hostess did not file a complaint but gave a report to the airline. The private airline did not act on that as it said the employee must file a complaint with the police.

Credit: TOI

The Times of India

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