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Report Dated March 28, 2017 7:57 PM
The Shiv Sena demanded lifting of a flying ban on its lawmaker Ravindra Gaikwad, accused of assaulting an Air India staffer, but the government said airlines had the right to refuse a passenger.
MPs of the Sena, an ally of the ruling BJP at the Centre and Maharashtra, created uproar in the Lok Sabha and at one point of time, engaged in a verbal duel with Congress members who slammed Gaikwad’s action.
Sena supporters also called a shutdown on Mar 27 at Osmanabad, the parliamentary constituency of the MP who has admitted to hitting a 60-year-old Air India employee with slipper more than “25 times”.
Gaikwad was allegedly angry after being denied a business class seat on a Pune-Delhi flight. The flight reportedly did not have a business class.
“There was some dispute, he had beaten an Air India staffer. I agree it is wrong. Air India has filed a police complaint and we will accept whatever the result is, that is not a problem,” Sena member Anandrao Adsul said in the Lok Sabha.
“The problem is all airlines have restricted him. The Constitution says people can go anywhere in the country. If there is one incident and all airlines ban him, it is wrong.”
Civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapati Raju said an MP was just another passenger and violence of any kind on a flight can turn into a disaster.
He said airlines have been empowered to deny boarding to any passenger whose demeanour was not proper.
The Sena has continued to defend its MP though senior leaders have said that the party does not endorse his actions. However, the MP is unlikely to face any strict action.
Report Dated March 26, 2017 6:44 PM
Air India lodged an FIR against Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad, who admitted hitting their staffer with slippers over seating arrangement in the aircraft. The officials said they are examining creation of a no-fly list of unruly passengers.
The incident was reported on a Pune-Delhi flight after it landed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi. Gaikwad represents Maharashtra’s Osmanabad constituency in Lok Sabha. “Haan maine usko maara tha, usne badtameezi ki thi (Yes, I hit him. He misbehaved with me),” Gaikwad was quoted as saying. It is unclear what exactly led to the scuffle though TV reports say the MP was downgraded from the business class to the economy class.
Meanwhile, the Air India staffer has written a complaint letter where he said the minister used foul language even as he was humiliated in front of his colleagues. Air India said that it has constituted a team to probe the whole incident.
Report Dated March 23, 2017 7:20 PM
Angry at being given an economy class seat in a flight that did not have business class, a Shiv Sena MP beat up an airline staffer with his slippers “25 times”. This latest VVIP shocker happened when Ravindra Gaikwad, Lok Sabha MP from Osmanabad in Maharasthra, flew from Pune to Delhi on Air India’s flight AI 852.
“The MP had a business class coupon. His office was clearly told that AI 852 was an all-economy flight that did not have a business class. There were two other Pune-Delhi flights which had business class,” said a senior AI official.
But with Parliament in session, the Gaikwad decided to go to Delhi on the all-economy flight. The trouble began on arrival in Delhi at about 10.30 am.
“After the plane landed, he did not alight from it for half an hour or so. He was angry at being made to travel in economy despite having a business class coupon. Our ground staff repeatedly requested him to alight from the plane as the aircraft had to be despatched for another flight,” said the official.
The MP was so agitated now that he allegedly took off his slipper and beat up one of the AI ground staffers requesting him to get off the plane.
The MP later told the media that he had indeed beaten up the staffer with his slippers. “I am not a BJP MP. I am a Shiv Sena MP and will not tolerate any insult. Let the employee complain. I will complain to the Speaker and other authorities,” he told TV channels.
The airline staff member who was assaulted by Gaikwad told ANI, “Ravindra Gaikwad hit me, used foul language and not only broke my specs but humiliated me in front of the whole crew.”
The AI management has called for a report on the VVIP high handedness and will then decide on the action to be taken. While AI employees want strict action against Gaikwad, sources fear that since the MP belongs to an alliance partner (Shiv Sena), political pressure may tie the state-owned Maharaja’s hands.
This is not the first time that elected representatives have misbehaved with AI staff. In November 2015, a Congress MP had slapped an AI station manager at Tirupati airport for refusing to accept him and his relatives on a flight for which boarding had been closed. The MP and his entourage had reached the Tirupati airport 20 to 25 minutes before flight departure time while boarding counters for domestic flights close 45 minutes before departure time.
And before this, a Bihar politician had misbehaved with an air hostess of a private airline. The air hostess did not file a complaint against the MP, whose spouse is also an MP, with the police and just gave her complaint to the airline. The private airline did not act on that as it said the employee must file a complaint with the police.
Report Dated March 15, 2017 7:00 PM
Gayatri Prajapati was arrested in the state capital, Lucknow, after being on the run for a month.
Police have registered a case against him and three others for allegedly gang-raping a woman and molesting her daughter, a minor, in 2014.
Mr Prajapati has denied all the allegations.
A court sent him judicial custody for two weeks to allow police to question him.
The allegations were made against him 2014, but police registered a case only last month after protests from opposition parties and activists.
The former minister lost his seat in the recently concluded state assembly elections. His Samajwadi Party also suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.
Scrutiny of sexual violence in India has grown since the 2012 gang rape and murder of a student on a Delhi bus.
However, brutal sexual attacks against women and children continue to be reported across the country.
Report Dated February 22, 2017 6:21 PM
With elections at its peak in UP, there’s one family that is not giving up its fight against gangster-turned politician Mukhtar Ansari, who is contesting from Mau Sadar this time on a BSP ticket.
Secured with high boundary walls, this house in Mau’s Sahadatpur locality, a prominent medical hub in eastern India, is constantly under electronic surveillance. CCTV cameras are scanning movement of every stranger around the house. The doors do not open for visitors till his/her identity is ascertained.
The house owner, Ashok Singh, moves in a security cordon of three gunners, but family members feel he is still not safe as mafia-turned-local legislator Mukhtar Ansari is baying for his blood.
But Ashok is unfazed. He says life and death is in God’s hand. No external power can harm him until it’s a God’s will. He, however, takes utmost precaution while venturing out of the house.
The feud between Ashok and Mukhtar dates back to August 29, 2009 when the latter allegedly got his elder brother, Ajay Prakash Singh alias Manna killed over ransom.
Ansari’s alleged hired shooters fired at Manna’s SUV near the town’s Union Bank killing him and his bodyguard, Rajesh Rai. The driver, Sabbir, who suffered three bullet injuries, and the manager, Ram Singh Maurya, had survived.
Manna was one of the top five contractors in Mau engaged in civil construction work for various government departments.
Ashok’s family members alleged that Ansari had demanded protection money (goonda tax) from him. Since Manna refused to pay, he had to pay with his life.
The bloodshed didn’t end there. As Maurya and Shabbir, eye witnesses to the case, booked Ansari and his unidentified goons for the twin murder, assailants struck again within a gap of seven months killing Maurya and his bodyguard Satish Kumar near a local court.
The sensational murder shook the area, but since Ansari was in jail when the killings took place, police had no adequate evidence to prove his involvement.
Even worse, Shabbir, the lone surviving witness, had turned hostile.
At this juncture, Ashok lodged a fresh FIR against Ansari for the four murders. He produced several evidences and witnesses before the court.
This is the only family in entire UP that has taken a stand against the don and fighting a case against him in the court. “He has been booked in multiple cases, but no one dares to stand in the court and say he is a killer. Several witnesses have either been killed or have committed suicide,” he said.
Official records suggest that Mukhtar has 44 cases in Eastern UP, mostly murders. He also has cases in other states.