Major Indian airlines ban MP who beat official

In an unprecedented step, Air India and all private carriers refused to fly Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad over his misconduct with the officer of the national flag carrier.

Gaikwad, was scheduled for departure in Delhi to Pune flight AI 849, at 4 P.M today, and accordingly, the return ticket of the MLA, has even been canceled.

The ugly incident at the New Delhi airport in which Shiv Sena MP from Osmanabad (Maharashtra) Ravindra Gaekwad thrashed a senior Air India (AI) official with his sandals in full view of the crew has had at least one good fall-out.

Gaikwad had shot out a letter to Civil Aviation Minsiter Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan explaining the problems faced on the Air India flight.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Gaikwad said: "I dare the Delhi police to arrest me..."

An Indian politician has admitted on Thursday that he hit a steward on an Air India flight 25 times with his slipper during a row over a seat.

Air India had registered two FIRs against Gaikwad over the incident.

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The Shiv Sena party is a junior coalition partner in the Maharashtra state government, which is ruled by India's governing BJP.

But Gaikwad insisted on taking the 7:35 AM AI 852 this morning from Pune to Delhi. He had on camera confessed that he had hit airline official with his sandal 25 times.

The Shiv Sena's S Raut said: "A mistake was made, violence was used, we will see who was responsible for that".

Budget carrier IndiGo said Friday that it will support any move that bars unruly passengers from flying. Gaikwad refused to get off the plane as he was forced to travel economy despite carrying a business class ticket and did not accept the airline's explanation that there were only economy seats on the flight. "How can they not let me travel when I have a booking and I am their passenger". The MP went on to say unapologetically that he hit the staffer because the latter misbehaved with him.

Sources in Air India cited Chapter IV of Carriage by Air Act, 1972, which confers on the airlines the right to refuse a ticket to any person. "As soon as I uttered that he took out his chappal and started hitting me", Sukumar said.

Shiv Sena leader Praveen Shinde and an accomplice were caught on camera assaulting a bank employee in Yavatmal, Maharashtra a year ago.

Earlier, the Centre also took cognizance of the incident and assured a thorough probe into the matter.

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