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Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad regrets Air India episode

Ravindra Gaikwad (C) with Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut (L) and party MPs after a press conference at Parliament on Thursday.(PTI)
Shiv Sena lawmaker Ravindra Gaikwad on Thursday expressed “regret” for his alleged assault of a senior Air India employee, signalling a climbdown by the party hours after it threatened to stall all flights out of Mumbai over the flying ban on the MP.

Gaikwad, an MP from Osmanabad, was banned by six airlines after the incident last month. He also claimed on TV about hitting the Air India employee with his slippers 25 times.

“…This incident may kindly not be seen as a reason for likely recurrence of such an event in future also,” the MP said in a letter to civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapati Raju, barely a few hours after Sena lawmakers created a ruckus in Parliament over the ban.

He also said an ongoing probe will “bring out the factual sequence of events to fix responsibility” in the incident, which triggered a wave of revulsion and anger against the MP.

He added that the ban was “affecting the effective discharge of my duties and responsibilities”.

Sources said that Air India may soon allow him to fly even as the police cases against him will not be withdrawn. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan also said that the MPs can’t fulfill their duties if there is ban on flying.

The letter, according to official sources, followed a meeting in Mahajan’s chamber in Parliament where Shiv Sena MPs were told that if Gaikwad issued a statement committing that he would not engage in any such incident in future, the government could intervene and have the ban revoked.

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