Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad beats up Air India staffer

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.