- Ravindra Gaikwad banned by airlines, hit Air India manager
- Tried to fly 4 times, tickets cancelled in each case
- Will attend Lok Sabha this week, offer his defense: reports
"Gaikwad will attend parliament either on Thursday or Friday," a source close to the MP from Osmanabad told the Press Trust of India. "He will first present his side of the story in the House and only then will appear before media," the source said.
Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan said, "I am also trying to see that a decision on the flying ban is taken soon," referring to her attempts to ensure that the MP is not blacklisted by all airlines. She said recently that travel by air is sometimes necessary for politicians to attend parliament.
Last month, Mr Gaikwad, who is from Maharashtra, flew on Air India from Pune to Delhi, then refused to leave the plane for an hour while he demanded an explanation for not being given a business class seat. The flight he had taken, however, was all-economy. The crew's pointing to this fact did not assuage him. When a 60-year-old manager arrived to persuade him to disembark, the MP, by his own admission, hit him "25 times with a slipper." The manager in a written complaint has also said that the MP tried to shove him off the stairwell used to help passengers leave the plane.
The Sena says that is just one side of the story and today again protested against the ban on their MP imposed by a group of airlines. Anand Rao Adsul, the Shiv Sena leader in the Lok Sabha, said it has been waiting for 15 days for a response from the Civil Aviation Ministry to its challenging of the ban.
Air India has filed two cases against Mr Gaikwad; the Sena says courts should decide his punishment and not the airline.
Mr Gaikwad took a train between Delhi and Mumbai after he was blacklisted by airlines who cancelled his tickets four times.
"After the infamous Pune-Delhi flight, Ravi Sir (Mr Gaikwad) booked flight tickets only three times and all were cancelled owing to the unjust curbs imposed by the airlines. The fourth and last ticket he booked was for an 8 AM flight from Mumbai to Delhi and that was also cancelled," the source said to the Press Trust of India.