Ravindra Gaikwad
Police launch investigation after Ravindra Gaikwad admits beating airline employee with slipper

Indian police have launched an investigation against an MP after he admitted that he had beaten an airline employee with his slipper 25 times for his alleged "arrogance".

Ravindra Gaikwad said he "beat him with my sandal 25 times. Should I tolerate abuses just because I'm an MP?"

"I can try to make someone understand something 10 times, but if they don't, then I will beat them. It is the airline that is at mistake and they should apologise to me," he added.

Delhi Police special commissioner Dependra Pathak said on Friday (24 March) that they have filed a preliminary case against Gaikwad and "are transferring the case to our crime branch for a thorough investigation".

On 23 March morning, Gaikwad, a lawmaker from the Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena party, was travelling from the western Indian city of Pune to New Delhi on Air India flight AI 852 on an open business class ticket. However, the flight was changed to an all-economy one and the politician's staff were apparently notified of the change before boarding.

According to reports, the change infuriated Gaikwad and he lost his temper and started hitting Air India airlines staffer Sukumar Raman, 60, during the argument.

The airline staff member also alleged that the MP had broken his glasses in the attack.

"When I told him what he was asking wasn't possible, he became abusive and started using foul language. God save our country if this is the culture and behaviour of our MPs," Raman added.

Following the incident, which has drawn massive criticism, Air India has filed a complaint on Thursday, saying Gaikwad should be banned on all flights operated by the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA).

The other airlines - Indigo, Jet Airways, SpiceJet and GoAir – have also banned him on their flights "with immediate effect" and demanded exemplary action against the lawmaker.

The airlines have also reportedly proposed a no-fly list to include the names of passengers whose in-flight behaviour has been rude. They have asked the Indian government and security agencies to put the measure into effect.