The Delhi Police Crime Branch Monday recorded statements of 15 Air India staffers, who were witness to the ruckus Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad raked up at the Indira Gandhi International Airport last week. Sources said a team from the southeastern range, supervised by DCP Ram Gopal Naik, reached at IGI airport Monday morning and Inspector Raj Kumar recorded the statements. They also took possession of the CCTV footage and videos capturing last Thursday’s incident.
Gaikwad, the Lok Sabha MP from Maharashtra’s Osmanabad district, slapped and, by his own claim, hit 60-year-old duty manager Sukumar Raman with his sandal when the official tried to persuade him to disembark. Gaikwad had held up the aircraft for over 40 minutes.
“The statements of around 15 Air India staffers, including Sukumar, have been recorded. Whether Gaikwad’s statement will be recorded or not can not be confirmed at the present stage of investigation,” a senior officer said.
Sukumar had earlier said that his attacker must be punished so that no one takes it as their birthright to assault anyone and that some example should be set. “Police should take some strict action to stop these people from doing this kind of thing again. They should not take it as their birthright to assault a person,” he had said.
Sukumar has worked for Air India for 34 years and had retired as a Deputy Manager in 2012. He was then hired by AI’s joint venture initiative, AISATS, where he is a Flight Handling coordinator.
“I told my crew to be quick with the process of disembarking and asked them what was causing the delay. They told me all passengers except one have disembarked. The passenger, after disclosing his identity, said he wanted to meet the senior management. I then went inside the aircraft to figure out what the problem was. He attacked me when I told him that I can’t call the CMD, as he asked me to,” he said.