AI bars Sena MP, cancels ticket fearing backlash by employees

Shiv Sena today defended party MP Ravindra Gaikwad's assault on an Air India staffer, even as political leaders cutting across all party lines strongly condemned the incident.

The Delhi Police transferred the case to its Crime Branch after registering the FIR under sections 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), 355 (assault or criminal force with intent to dishonour person) of the Indian Penal Code, said Dependra Pathak, Delhi Police's chief spokesperson and special commissioner (operations).

Speaking to PTI, Gaikwad said he plans to file the case at a court in Osmanabad (Maharashtra), his Lok Sabha constituency, next week against the "main officials" of Air India for allegedly defaming him.

Meanwhile, Gaikwad has complained to the Delhi Police alleging he was made to travel in economy class despite having a business class boarding pass, and was manhandled by Air India employees when he raised the issue.

Delhi Police said they had registered a preliminary case against Gaikwad on Friday.

Reacting on the "ban" levelled against the MP by Air India and other leading national airlines, Minister of State for Law and Justice PP Chaudhary has said, "There is no law that bars anyone from travelling anywhere or denying a ticket".

Air India said it had informed the MP's staff in advance that the aircraft didn't have a business class.

Taking retributive action, the national carrier cancelled Gaikwad's return ticket to Pune after he boastfully asserted he would board the afternoon flight. "How can they not let me travel when I have a booking and I am their passenger".

"I won't apologize. It's their fault". He refused to get off the plane for an hour which delayed Air India's next flight, the airline said on Thursday. "We have also sought a version of the incident from the Air India staffer", said Harshal Pradhan, media adviser to party president Uddhav Thackeray. "I hit him 25 times with a slipper", Gaikwad said.

Outraged at not getting premium seating, Ravindra Gaikwad, a member of parliament belonging to a regional party in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling coalition, on Thursday refused to deplane after his flight landed in New Delhi.

Raut also added that there are number of people who should be blacklisted, who is responsible for bringing Air India to this position and due to which it is facing loss. "Yet, he was arrogant, misbehaved with me.He spread false information that I misbehaved over seat issues", he added.

  • Leroy Wright