NEW DELHI: “Don’t… don’t… don’t do that!” an Air India official is heard shouting in a video as she tries to stop Shiv Sena parliamentarian Ravindra Gaikwad from assaulting her colleague in an aircraft and pushing him down the step-ladder on Thursday.
Mr Gaikwad thrashed Air India duty manager Shiv Kumar, 60, with slippers and abused him during an argument over a business class seat. Displaying no remorse later, he bragged, “I hit him 25 times with my sandal.”
The parliamentarian from Maharashtra had refused to exit the plane for nearly an hour after it landed in Delhi on Thursday morning and demanded to see top officials to ask why he had to fly economy despite a business class ticket – which MPs are entitled to. He refused to accept the airline’s explanation that there were only economy seats on the flight.
A part of the incident has been caught on camera. In the video, the MP is restrained as he assaults Shiv Kumar, who tried to get him to leave the plane.
A woman official is seen pleading with him. “You are an MP, you shouldn’t do like this…”
Mr Gaikwad, 57, was seen sitting unconcerned in seat 1F on the front row, calmly parrying her entreaties.
“Why do you want to go to jail, sir? You will face a murder charge,” the official says, apparently referring to the politician’s attempt to push Shiv Kumar down the step-ladder.
“Let them (charge me). I face many cases,” Mr Gaikwad shoots back.
The official plods on: “You are our role model… you are our elected representative, our democratic leader.”
But nothing moves the MP, who has now been barred by a group of airlines.
Shiv Kumar has said in a written complaint that he was beaten, abused, humiliated in front of crew and his spectacles broken. “God help our country if this is the behaviour and culture of our MPs,” he said.
This morning, Mr Gaikwad declared that he would not apologise. “I dare the Delhi police to arrest me…I will not apologise, he (Air India manager) must come to me and apologise,” he said.