After Air India and Indigo, it was SpiceJet’s turn to thwart reviled Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad’s attempts at air travel on Saturday.
Gaikwad had booked a seat on a Pune-Ahmedabad flight, scheduled for 8.40 pm on April 3. “However, we cancelled the ticket as soon as the booking was brought to our attention,” said a SpiceJet official.
The Shiv Sena MP beat up a 60-year-old Air India duty manager with his sandals on a Pune-New Delhi flight last Thursday, after he was “forced” to travel by economy class instead of business. He was blacklisted by Air India and five private airlines following his refusal to apologise for the incident.
In the days that followed, Gaikwad tried to trick the Air India ticketing staff repeatedly by booking tickets under misspelt names. The state carrier first cancelled a Mumbai-Delhi ticket booked by him, followed by another Hyderabad-Delhi ticket on Tuesday. Last Friday, he again tried in vain to book a Pune-Delhi ticket for April 3.
Still undaunted, the politician tried his luck on a Nagpur-Mumbai-Delhi flight on Wednesday. However, airline officials managed to thwart him at every turn.
Private carrier Indigo had also rejected a flight booking made by him in a display of solidarity with Air India.
“We flagged several names – including Ravindra Gaikwad, R Gaikwad, Prof V Ravindra Gaikwad and Prof Ravindra Gaikwad – on our system after the MP tried booking under various abbreviations. In some cases, he even tried misspelling his name,” said an Air India official.
Gaikwad received widespread criticism for assaulting the Air India staffer, R Sukumar, and Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan even said she would consider taking action if parliamentarians brought the matter to her notice in the house.
The MP, however, remained defiant – choosing to blame Sukumar for the incident. “Kaahe ka pashchaataap (what is there to repent)?” he told reporters at Maharashtra Sadan on Thursday morning. “I will not apologise … he (Sukumar) should come and apologize. Then we will see. A 60-year-old man should know how to behave.”