NEW DELHI: Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad, accused of beating up an Air India employee, today attended the Lok Sabha proceedings for the first time after the incident last month.
He said he had been "abused and manhandled" by an Air India official during his controversial flight last month when he had beaten a flight officer with his footwear, and offered to apologise for his behaviour but not to the 60-year-old Air India official.
Gaikwad, who had confessed to hitting an Air India duty manager for not being given a business class seat, said in the House that on the day of the incident (March 23) he was made to travel in economy class despite having a business class ticket.
He said after the Pune-Delhi flight landed in the national capital, he asked for the complaint register. "Then an officer came, then two or three more officers came.. When I said that I was a politician, one of them said 'But you are not Narendra Modi. Are you?'" said the Shiv Sena MP, giving his version of the incident.
He alleged he was pushed around by the airlines staff and then one of them held him "by the collar".
"There is video evidence of the entire incident, thanks to the air hostess of the same airlines... I am staring at a ban across all airlines," Gaikwad said and claimed that the charges against him are "unfounded" and should be taken back.
"I have been charged under IPC 308, which is for 'attempt to murder'. Was I holding any weapon?.. Is this justice," he added.
Gaikwad had hit R. Sukumar for not being given a business class seat on an all-economy flight, and was slapped with a flight ban across all airlines.
Union civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju in response said that the law will take its own due course and safety can't be compromised in any circumstances.
As soon as the House met for the day, Shiv Sena leader Anandrao Adsul said the party has been cooperating on the issue since the controversy broke out. "He is present and will make a statement. Either you allow him (to speak) now or later today, he should be allowed (to speak)," he said.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said he can speak during Zero Hour but not during Question Hour.
Before Adsul spoke, Sena members raised slogans against Air India when Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju rose to reply a question in regional airports. "Goonda raj band karo...nyay karo, nyay karo (Stop bullying, do justice)" was among some of the slogans they raised.
Union minister Ananth Geete, who is also a Sena leader, urged the Speaker to allow Adsul to speak briefly.
Gaikwad, the Osmanabad MP, had last month abused and assaulted a 60-year-old duty manager of the national carrier with slippers for not being able to fly business class despite having boarded an all-economy Pune-New Delhi flight.