In a retribution of sorts, Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad had to travel by train on Friday after domestic airlines unitedly “banned” him from flying on their aircrafts for assaulting an Air India officer.
According to a senior Railway Ministry official, Gaikwad boarded August Kranti Express for Mumbai from the Hazrat Nizamuddin station.
The Sena MP booked three berths — 21, 22 and 23 — in coach number A-1 of AC II tier of Mumbai Rajdhani and was accompanied by a person, who was unwell and attended by a doctor at the Mathura station. The train reached Mumbai around 10 am.
During his travel, when a group of TV reporters tried to question him about the Air India row, Gaikwad refused to comment.
Instead, he told mediapersons that a statement will be issued by Sena President Uddhav Thackeray or Sena MP Anil Desai.
— ANI (@ANI_news) March 24, 2017
Gaikwad on Thursday assaulted 60-year-old duty manager of Air India R. Sukumar with slippers over not being able to fly business class despite having boarded an all economy flight.
Taking retributive action, the national carrier cancelled Gaikwad’s return ticket to Pune after he boastfully asserted he would board the afternoon flight.
Later, he booked himself on an IndiGo flight through a travel agent. However, the private airline followed suit and cancelled his ticket.
Subsequently, in an unprecedented show of unity, the Federation of Indian Airlines, which also has Jet Airways, SpiceJet, IndiGo and GoAir as its members, issued a statement declaring it has decided to “ban” the MP from flying on its aircraft.
“We believe that an assault on any one of our employees is an assault on all of us and on ordinary law-abiding citizens of our country who work hard to earn a living. We believe that exemplary action should be taken in such incidents to protect employee morale and public safety,” the airlines said in a joint statement.
The non-FIA member airlines — AirAsia India and Vistara — also came out in support of the ban, which left the Osmanabad MP “grounded” in the national capital.
Meanwhile, two FIRs have been registered against Gaikwad on the basis of the complaint lodged by Air India for repeatedly hitting Sukumar with sandals and for delaying the flight by refusing to vacate his seat even after landing.
The Sena MP had earlier boasted about hitting the staffer 25 times with his sandal, refused to apologize for him and declared that his party will bail him out if he gets arrested.
With agency inputs