Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad, at the centre of a row over assaulting an Air India employee, on Thursday wrote a letter to Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapthi Raju voicing “regret” over the “unfortunate incident”.
“I write to convey my regrets for the unfortunate incident that took place on 23rd March, 2017 in the Air India Flight No. AI-852 seat No. 1F,” Gaikwad, who has been steadfast in refusing to tender an apology to either the national carrier or the staffer concerned, said.
“It could have been no one’s intention to have let the situation aggravate to the level that it eventually did. While the on-going investigation will bring out the factual sequence of events to fix responsibility, this incident may kindly not be seen as a reason for likely recurrence of such an event in future also,” he said in the letter.
The letter, according to official sources, followed a meeting in Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra 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.
“As the restriction on flying is affecting the effective discharge of my duties and responsibilities, I would request you to lift this restriction and let the investigation eventually determine the circumstances which led to the incident,” Gaikwad said.
Air India sources, meanwhile, said the ban is still in force. Sources in the Civil Aviation Ministry said Gaikwad’s letter was being “examined”.
“MoCA (Ministry of Civil Aviation) has always maintained that Gaikwad should tender an apology. Now that we have a letter with an undertaking that such incidents will not be repeated, his letter is being examined,” sources said.