Lok Sabha Secretariat Seeks Report On Ravindra Gaikwad's Air India Incident

Lok Sabha Secretariat Seeks Report On Ravindra Gaikwad's Air India Incident

Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad will attend Lok Sabha this week and offer his defense.

New Delhi:  The Lok Sabha Secretariat has sought details from the Civil Aviation Ministry of the incident involving Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad and the subsequent ban against him by Air India for assaulting its staffer.

The report has been sought after the privilege motion moved by the Shiv Sena as its MP was banned by all major domestic airlines from flying, after he had assaulted an Air India employee.

A letter has been written by Lok Sabha Secretariat to top officials of the Civil Aviation Ministry seeking details of the entire episode of assault of an Air India employee by Mr Gaikwad following which he has been banned from flying, sources in the Lok Sabha Secretariat said.

Yesterday, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said she was considering a privilege motion by the Shiv Sena on the ban by all airlines on the party MP.

Any MP of either house can give notice against anyone who is accused of breach of privilege. This privilege provides certain rights and immunities to MPs, MLAs and MLCs.

Earlier, Ms Mahajan had pitched for an amicable resolution of the issue after domestic airlines' blanket ban on Mr Gaikwad.

Last month, 57-year old Gaikwad, a Lok Sabha member from Osmanabad in Maharashtra, had abused and assaulted a 60-year-old duty manager of Air India with slippers just because he had to travel economy class on an all-economy flight though he had an open business class ticket.

Air India has refused to fly the MP, following which other private airlines too refused to fly him. An FIR was also registered against him. Nearly two weeks after he assaulted an airline manager during a fight over business class seats, earning a flying ban, politician Ravindra Gaikwad was allowed into a plane for the first time. He took a chartered flight to Delhi, where he is to attend the parliament session.

The Shiv Sena parliamentarian had tried four times but failed to book a flight on Air India after he beat up the airline's duty manager and bragged later about "hitting him 25 times with a slipper".

Mr Gaikwad is likely to present his version of events in the Lok Sabha, a source close to him told the Press Trust of India.

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. When a 60-year-old manager arrived to persuade him to leave the plane, the MP assaulted him.

The manager in a written complaint said that the MP tried to push him off the steps used to help passengers leave the plane.

The Sena today again protested against the flying ban on its leader. Anand Rao Adsul, the Shiv Sena leader in the Lok Sabha, said the party had been waiting for 15 days for a response from the Civil Aviation Ministry to its challenging of the ban.

Mr Adsul asserted that the Sena has so far refrained from hungama (drama) since it is a part of the government, but that will change unless Mr Gaikwad's complaints against Air India for poor service are processed, and the ban on him revoked.

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