New Delhi: Delhi Police is investigating claims by Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad that Air India staffers provoked and manhandled him, forcing him to hit back, a senior officer said on Tuesday.
The Delhi Police Crime Branch is corroborating the sequence of events of 23 March to fill the "evidence gap" before taking any action against Gaikwad, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Praveer Ranjan said.
"There is a big gap in the evidence on the alleged assault of an Air India staffer by Gaikwad, who has raised doubts regarding the case," Ranjan said.
Gaikwad had gloated on 23 March to the media that he repeatedly assaulted Air India duty manager R. Sukumar, 60, with his slipper over a row over the lack of business class seats on a Pune-Delhi flight.
The incident led to Air India and all private airlines banning Gaikwad. The ban has since been lifted.
Ranjan said the investigating team would first analyse a "statement" from the MP in which he has claimed that he was initially manhandled by Air India staffers. This, he said, provoked him.
The MP had provided the statement to the Civil Aviation Ministry. This has reached Delhi Police through the Home Ministry.
Asked why the police were not acting against Gaikwad when he himself has admitted to attacking the Air India staffer, Ranjan said: "Gaikwad accepted it on news channels. But there is no evidence of attack against him (Gaikwad)."
The MP had refused to disembark after he had to travel in an all-economy flight although he had held an open business class ticket.
Following the incident, two FIRs were filed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport police station for assault and delaying the plane.
Last week, Gaikwad expressed "regrets" over the incident, leading to the lifting of flying ban on him.
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Updated Date: Apr 11, 2017 21:01:14 IST