New Delhi, March 27: The Central Industrial Security Force has handed the Union home ministry a dossier on MPs accused of bullying its jawans at airports when asked to undergo the mandatory security check.
It has asked that these MPs' names be put on the ministry website to shame them.
The dossier comes at a time major domestic airlines have barred a Shiv Sena MP from their flights for thrashing a 60-year-old Air India official with a sandal aboard a plane on Thursday.
However, there's already talk of sorting out the row through talks and allowing Ravindra Gaikwad to fly again, reflecting the challenge before the CISF, which manages airport security across India.
"The dossier names 20 MPs who berated and browbeat our jawans last year when asked to get their luggage X-rayed and take their coats off before check-in," a senior CISF officer said.
Such dossiers are routine: every year the CISF sends the home ministry a follow-up report on MPs' complaints accusing its personnel of misbehaving with them at airports.
CISF officers say most of the complaints stem from the MPs' hurt egos and that security-camera evidence proves virtually all of them false.
But this is the first time the force has sought action against the MPs, after all the 20 complaints proved false, a senior CISF officer said.
North Block sources, however, said the home ministry had two years ago, too, considered "naming and shaming" the "egotistic" MPs who hector airport security, but eventually backed out fearing political controversy.
The senior CISF officer said the dossier was sent last week. The ministry, to which the force reports, had earlier forwarded the MPs' complaints to the CISF director-general.
"While examining the CCTV footage from near the check-in area, we found that it was the complainants (MPs) who had misbehaved with the jawans," the officer said.
A home ministry official said that CISF jawans posted at airports were trained to show due courtesy to passengers and MPs without compromising security regulations.
According to ministry data, 24 MPs and several bureaucrats had lodged "false" complaints against CISF personnel across airports in 2011. The number was five in 2012 but rose to 30 in 2013, dropping to 24 in 2014 and 21 in 2015.
Parliamentarians are not per se exempt from security checks at airports. Those so exempt include the President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, Union ministers, chief ministers, chief justices of the Supreme Court and the high courts, chief election commissioner, Union cabinet secretary, the Dalai Lama, Sonia Gandhi and her family, former Presidents, Lok Sabha Speaker and the three service chiefs.
Delhi police sources said that Gaikwad, booked on the charges of assault and attempt to commit culpable homicide, which carries a maximum jail term of seven years, would be asked to have his statement recorded.
"We have already recorded the statement of the complainant, Air India duty manager Sukumar," an officer said.
Gaikwad had refused to get off the plane after his Pune-Delhi flight landed in Delhi, complaining about being denied business-class travel after he himself had insisted on boarding an all-economy flight.
When Sukumar tried to persuade him to disembark, he allegedly slapped him, tore his shirt and, by his own admission, hit the official "25 times" with his sandal.
It seems Ravindra Gaikwad is not the first case of MPs bullying airport staff when they do not get what they wanted.
The King is Dead, Long Live the King!
The British may have left and the Privy purses of the Maharajahs may have been taken away but India is producing a new breed of Maharajahs, called politicians, who consider themselves above the law.
There are around 24 MPs who seem to be doing what Gaikwad does.
Are you going to give your hard earned money which you give to the government in the form of taxes to pay for the pension of life of these rogues?
I won't be surprised if these 24 MPs figure in the list of 33 % MP who have criminal cases against them.