Refusing to apologise to the Air India official whom he allegedly thrashed, Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad on Saturday said he would only tender an apology to Parliament for disrespecting its dignity.
Asserting that it was a small conflict, Gaikwad said the staff member of the airline is mad and around eight such cases of indulging in a brawl have been registered against him.
“The Air India staff had started the conflict. It was his fault why would I apologise? I will apologise to the Parliament if my action damaged its dignity. It was just a small conflict. The staff member is mad and around eight such cases of indulging into brawl have been registered against him,” Gaikwad told said.
He further said that the flying ban imposed on him was not right as no airline can bar any flier.
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Gaikwad further said that his complaints were not addressed, adding that if this was Air India’s behaviour towards a people’s representative then what it would be towards a common man.
National Carrier Air India on Friday lifted the ban on Gaikwad after a request from Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju.
The development comes a day after the Shiv Sena MP tendered an apology to the civil aviation minister, expressing regret over the incident.
Air India earlier on Thursday announced that it had cancelled Gaikwad’s Delhi-Mumbai round tickets for April 17 and 24.
However, Gaikwad said that he booked a ticket neither for April 17 nor for April 24 for any airline as being aired by the media.
“It is learnt through media that I have booked the tickets for Air India to travel from Delhi to Mumbai for April 17 and 24 and my defamation is continued. On this connection, I would like to make it clear that I have neither booked a ticket for 17 nor 24th April, 2017 for any airline as being aired by media as the session will be sin-e-die on 13th April 2017,” Gaikwad said in a statement.
Air India and six private airlines banned the 56-year-old MP from flying as he refused to apologise for the incident that triggered nationwide outrage.
Now, Gaikwad free to fly as private airlines lift ban
Private airlines on Saturday lifted the nearly two-week long flying ban on Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad, who had assaulted an Air India staffer last month.
The decision of the Federation of Indian Airlines comes a day after the national carrier, following direction from the civil aviation ministry, revoked the ban on Gaikwad.
The flying restriction on the Lok Sabha member has been lifted after he gave an undertaking that such incidents will not reoccur.
The FIA, which has Jet Airways, IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir as members, on Saturday said its members are restoring the flying privileges to Gaikwad.
In a statement, the grouping said it is being done after Air India lifted the ban and “under the assurance that our assets and colleagues shall be accorded the respect that they deserve for the hard work that they put in every day”.
No sooner had the FIA lifted the ban on the Sena MP, than two other private carriers -- Vistara and AirAsia India -- said they “support” the decision taken by the industry.
Vistara and AirAsia India are not part of the FIA.
-- With inputs from PTI
Photograph: Manvender Vashist/PTI Photo