New Delhi: Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad punched and hit a 60-year-old Air India Duty Manager with his slippers nearly 20 times and tore his shirt at IGI airport here today (March 23) just because he could not travel business class in an all-economy flight.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Police is seeking legal opinion on whether an FIR can be registered against Gaikwad who attacked an Air India staff with his slippers over seating issues.
Gaikwad, the Lok Sabha MP from Maharashtra’s Osmanabad, slapped and, by his own claim, hit 60-year-old duty manager Sukumar 25 times with his sandal when the official went to persuade him to disembark after he refused to alight, holding up the aircraft for over 40 minutes.
“The MP turned violent, broke the duty manager’s spectacles, tore his shirt, hit him with slippers 16-17 times,” said Air India sources.
According to the airline, Gaikwad was booked on an open ticket in business class with Air India which allows a passenger to take a flight on any date.
But Gaikwad insisted on taking the 7:35 am AI 852 this morning from Pune to Delhi, which is an all-economy flight, sparking an argument between Air India staff and the politician.
The MP boarded the flight but refused to alight from the aircraft when it landed at IGI airport here.
This is when the 60-year-old duty manager, Shivkumar, approached the MP to try and placate him but was brutally manhandled, said Air India sources.
Gehlot says FIR filed, police say no FIR but ‘complaint’
Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju wrote on Twitter: “Recd. report from @airindiain on the incident of unruly behaviour today morning. FIRs have been filed for assault and causing flight delay (sic).”
However, a Delhi Police spokesperson in a statement said: “A complaint has been filed in this regard at PS IGI Airport.
“Another complaint has been filed by Air India which alleged the flight got delayed due to Gaikwad and therefore, action should be taken against him.”
“The complaints have been received and legal opinion from prosecution branch is being taken as prima facie no cognizable offence is made out as per contents of the complaints received. Appropriate legal action will be taken as per opinion,” he said.
The spokesperson said a medical examination of the complainant has been conducted “but no fresh injury was noticed”.
Gaikwad admitted hitting the Air India employee with his slippers.
“He asked who is this MP and said he would complain to Modi. So I slapped him. I hit him 25 times with my sandal.
“I am Shiv Sena member, not of BJP, to entertain abuses (hurled at me),” he said adding he “will not apologise”.
Gaikwad said he would also complain to the Lok Sabha Speaker about the incident.