A city-based RTI activist has urged the Centre that police should be allowed to act “without interference” against Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad, who allegedly assaulted a senior Air India official last week. The activist, Shailesh Gandhi, in his petition addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also demanded that the Sena MP should be banned from taking the Air India flights for a period of one year. “India is disgusted by the actions of Member of Parliament Ravindra Gaikwad. He has arrogantly boasted on national television with great pride that he had hit an Air India staff member 25 times with his chappal and feels completely justified. This has also been recorded on video.
This is one of the worst cases of VIP racism and hubris,” he said in the petition put up on the Change.org. Gandhi, who had served as the Central Information Commissioner from 2008 to 2012, said, “Citizens are very happy that Air India has decided not to take him as a passenger and other airlines have also followed suit. We applaud the government for supporting Air India’s principled stand. This should apply to any unruly passenger on flights to ensure safety.”
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He urged the Modi government to ensure that there was no interference in the matter. “Allow the police to proceed as per the law without any interference in this matter and ensure that Air India does not offer him a seat on its flights at least for a period of one year,” he said.
“People of the country have noticed that some political parties are defending Gaikwad’s unforgivable actions, but we have faith that your government will not succumb to such pressures,” Gandhi said.
57-year-old Gaikwad, the Lok Sabha MP from Maharashtra’s Osmanabad, had slapped and repeatedly hit 60-year-old duty manager with his sandal on March 23 when the official went to persuade him to disembark after he refused to alight, after the Pune-Delhi flight landed in the national capital. He was furious at having to fly on an all-economy flight despite having a business class ticket.