Not only did Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaekwad admit, even brag, on TV channels that he assaulted an Air India official with his slipper, a video clip emerged late last night showing the politician attempting to push a duty manager out of the aircraft, down the stairs on to the tarmac, as the frantic crew tried to stop him.
When told he will be charged with murder if anything were to happen to the elderly staffer, Gaekwad is heard saying with no little arrogance: "Let there be, there are already many cases against me."
The incident, a typical reminder of the toxic VIP culture that plagues Indian politics, happened at the Delhi airport when Gaekwad realised he has been allotted an economy seat despite having an open business class ticket as part of his perks as a parliamentarian. In the ensuing argument, he took off his slipper and hit an official who got into an argument with him on board flight AI 852 from Pune.
"Maine sandal se pachhis maara, (I rained 25 blows on him with my slipper)," he bragged to the media later. "I asked them to find a solution to the impasse. Instead he was showing me attitude," Gaikwad told ANI.
In the latest video, a stewardess is seen pleading with the politician.
"You're a role model no? Parliament kaun pahuch sakta hai? Aap jail mein kyu jaana chahte hai? You are a democratic leader, we have elected you. Aap fenk denge toh murder case ho jayega na, sir?" (Why do you want to go to jail? If you throw him out it will be a murder case). She was trying to save 60-year-old Shiv Kumar, a Customer Relations Manager, from harm.
To which, the MP says: "Hone do na, bahut cases hai hamare upar." (Let it be, I have many cases against me.)
In his written complaint, Kumar said "God save our country if this is the culture and behaviour of our MPs."
This is what Kumar said, according to NDTV.
"...He became abusive and used foul language. When I spoke to him in English, he told me to speak to him in Hindi and when I started speaking in Hindi, he used foul language and bad words against me and started beating me ...took out his slipper and started hitting me...the staff who were present tried to save me. He also tried to throw me out from the step-ladder but the staff prevented him from doing so."