After airlines deny ticket, Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad forced to travel by train

New Delhi: From business class air travel to a long, overnight train journey! Shiv Sena parliamentarian Ravindra Gaikwad was forced to take a New Delhi-Mumbai train on March 24 after all major airlines in the country put him on their no-fly list for assaulting a senior Air India official.
Gaikwad abused and assaulted a 60-year-old duty manager of the national carrier with his slippers, venting his anger after being denied a business-class seat on a Pune-New Delhi Air India flight on March 23.
Air India and six private airlines banned the 56-year-old MP for Maharashtra’s Osmanabad from flying as he refused to apologize for the incident that triggered nationwide outrage.
Air India cancelled the MP’s return ticket for the 4.15pm flight on March 24, but he booked an IndiGo flight through an agent.
The private airline too cancelled the booking, forcing him to take the August Kranti Express, which leaves for Mumbai from Hazrat Nizamuddin station in the Capital at 4.50 pm.
“Gaikwad is booked at berth number 21 in the AI compartment. It appears that officials granted him on-spot reservation for being an MP, after he reached the station,” a railway spokesman said.
Besides getting grounded by the country’s airliners, the Shiv Sena has sought an explanation from the first-time MP, while Delhi Police registered an FIR, charging him with attempted culpable homicide.
Fellow MPs have criticized Gaikwad’s action, and Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan said she would take a call if any parliamentarian brought the topic to her notice in the House.
The Shiv Sena politician, however, remained defiant and unrepentant, and instead blamed the airline employee, R Sukumar, for the incident.
He told reporters at Maharashtra Sadan that he has no regrets over his actions.
“Kaahe ka pashchaataap (what is there to repent)? I will not apologize … he (Sukumar) should come and apologize. Then we will see. A 60-year-old man should know how to behave,” he said.
He had bragged before television cameras that he hit the official 25 times with his footwear. “Kaan ke nichey bajaa daala (beat him below his ears),” he is heard saying in video clips that have gone viral on social media.
He said he went out to watch a Bollywood movie — Badrinath ki Dulhaniya — on March 23 night to “relax” himself. “Tension-free hona chahiye na … you also watch the movie, it’s very good.”
Also, Gaikwad boasted that “police can arrest me … my party, Uddhav saheb will take care of it”.
His remarks caused further embarrassment to the Shiv Sena, especially after he crowed that party chief Uddhav Thackeray would bail him out.
The Shiv Sena backed its MP Ravindra Gaikwad while the Delhi Police filed an FIR against him amid the controversy over his assaulting an Air India staffer.
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 dishonor person) of the Indian Penal Code, said Dependra Pathak, Delhi Police’s chief spokesperson and special commissioner (operations).
When asked if police would arrest MP Gaikwad, Delhi police spokesperson Dependra Pathak said: “Let crime branch start probe and establish their case. They will follow legal procedure.”

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