- Lawmaker slammed for beating airline official with slipper last week
- Was reportedly disgruntled at not being given business class seats
- Now says airline official made 'insulting comments' against PM Modi
The 57-year-old MP was forced to take a train from Mumbai to Delhi today to attend parliament after Air India refused to fly him for the second time. A group of airlines have barred Mr Gaikwad, who had bragged after beating the official and allegedly trying to push him down a ladder for exiting the plane, "I hit him with my sandal 25 times."
The four-page statement in Marathi comes hours after the Shiv Sena released a video which it claims shows how the official attacked first and Mr Gaikwad only acted in "self-defence".
Accusing the media of one-sided reporting of what went down last Thursday, Mr Gaikwad writes that his fight was against Air India's "bad services" and his demand for a complaint book, and not for an upgrade to business class.
"Though I received a business class ticket on the boarding pass, no official informed me after I entered the plane that the flight does not have a business class," writes the politician, claiming that "for an old and helpless passenger" he switched to 1F (which is believed to be among the best options in an all-economy flight).
Mr Gaikwad, charged with holding up the plane by refusing to leave for nearly an hour, says he asked for a complaint book but was never given one. "My complaint was written on a plain, random piece of paper and they refused to give a receipt," he alleged.
Sukumar Raman, says the MP, used foul language and "his temper was high before he arrived".
What followed, claims the Sena politician, was an attempt to push him out of the plane while the official shouted, "Come down. Who MP? I've seen many of these types."
Mr Gaikwad says a senior assistant manager tried to express his regrets.
"I have complained against Air India's bad services to Lok Sabha members and the Delhi Police," the MP writes.