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Air India 'blacklists' Shiv Sena MP for assaulting staffer

Air India blacklists Shiv Sena MP for assaulting staffer
Air India on Friday blacklisted "unruly" Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad who admitted to assaulting an airline staffer "25 times" with his shoes and attempted to throw him out of the aircraft on Thursday.

An Air India official confirmed to IANS that the order "blacklisting him with immediate effect" has been issued, but the period and other details are not yet available.

A common practice among many international and some Indian private airlines for safety and security reasons, this is the first time that the national carrier has introduced such a 'blacklist' of rowdy passengers.

Ironically, the first law-breaker who figures on the Air India 'blacklist' happens to be a law-maker from Maharashtra, a former teacher with two terms as legislator and now a first-time MP from Osmanabad district.

Late Thursday, the Air India said it was "examining the possibility of creating a 'no fly' list of unruly passengers on the lines of other airlines," after lodging two separate FIRs against Gaikwad - for assaulting a shift manager and delaying a scheduled flight to Goa.

On his part, Gaikwad has shot off complaints to Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan demanding an enquiry into the incident.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray has sought an explanation from Gaikwad for his behaviour which has caused embarrassment in ruling circles as the party is an ally both at the Centre and in Maharashtra.

Gaikwad's grouse stemmed from the fact that he was forced to travel economy class on a Pune-New Delhi flight AI-852 though he held an open business class ticket.

He later refused to disembark from the flight at New Delhi airport for an hour, hurled abuses, indulged in violent and unruly behaviour and even tried to physically fling out the staffer from the aircraft.

Shiv Sena MP refuses to apologise for assaulting airline staffer

Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad on Friday refused to apologise for assaulting an Air India staffer "25 times" with his footwear and said he would travel by the same airlines' flight to go to Pune in the evening.

"I will not apologise. Why should I? It's not my mistake. They should apologise first then (we) will see. I will go to Pune this (Friday) evening in a flight of the same airline. I have booked the ticket. I am a passenger," Gaikwad said.

Asked how he would go to Pune when a case has been registered against him, the Osmanabad MP said he did not care about it.

"What is the nature of the case? I will go. My lawyer, my party and Uddhav Thackeray Saheb (Shiv Sena chief) will see to the matter."

Gaikwad on Thursday assaulted an Air India official with his footwear after he was forced to travel economy class though he had an open business class ticket. The flight was an all-economy one.

A defiant Gaikwad admitted to beating the airline staffer "25 times" with his slipper accusing him of misbehaving with him when the flight landed in Delhi.

The incident happened when flight AI852 from Pune reached Delhi around 10.30 a.m. on Thursday.

The Osmanabad MP was later booked in two cases for assaulting the Air India staffer and delaying a scheduled flight.



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