NEW DELHI:Days after the ban on his flying by major airlines, Shiv Sena members defended MP Ravindra Gaikwad’s act of thrashing an Air India employee and raised the issue of airlines refusing to fly Gaikwad in the Parliament on Monday.
Meanwhile, Union civil aviation minister Ashok Gajpati Raju said that rules are the same for everyone. “We have good safety regulations but never in my dreams expected a Parliament member to be involved in such an incident,” he said.
Members of the Shiv Sena created noisy scene in the Lower House and engaged in a verbal duel with Congress members who slammed Gaikwad for his action.
The Shiv Sena's Leader in the House Anandrao Adsul said he was only seeking lifting of the ban on flying imposed on Gaikwad by all major airlines after he assaulted a 60-year-old duty manager of Air India on March 23. He also compared this with an incident with TV star Kapil Sharma saying he also allegedly misbehaved in a flight.
Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan ruled out any action against Gaikwad and spoke against the ban by the six Indian airlines. Talking to a news agency, she said “The MP’s have to attend the parliament. They can’t always travel by train, they need to travel by plane too.”
Gaikwad also received support from Samajwadi Party MP. Raising the matter in Rajya Sabha, SP leader Naresh Agrawal said that how can the airline ban him from travelling even before an enquiry is constituted. “I want to raise the matter that airlines can impose a ban if he is found guilty in the matter but how can it be done without an enquiry,” said Agrawal.
While he raised the matter during Zero Hour but Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said it can be raised in the house as it pertains to a member of the Lok Sabha.
Amidst the controversy, Delhi Police is planning to call Ravindra Gaikwad, Shiv Sena MP to join investigation after couple of days as cops is busy in recording statements of witnesses. Crime branch officials claimed that they will ask him to join investigation once they record statements of other witnesses. Cops on Monday said that they have recorded statement of 15 Air India persons in the case. Cops have also asked for CCTV footages. “We will ask the accused to join investigation once we are done with initial investigation. Arrest will be done only if required,” a senior crime branch police official said.
An FIR was registered against him on the basis of the complaint lodged by Air India for repeatedly hitting with sandals 62-year-old duty manager R Sukumar on a Pune-Delhi flight after it landed in Delhi over not being able to fly business class despite having boarded an all-economy flight. Gaikwad had to left for Maharashtra by train after Air India, along with four other private airlines banned him from flying on their aircraft.