A YSR Congress Party MP from Andhra Pradesh allegedly slapped a station manager of Air India at Tirupati airport, following which a criminal case was registered against him and the airline sought a report.
The incident took place yesterday afternoon when Lok Sabha MP P Mithun Reddy, along with some of his relatives, arrived at the airport about 20 to 25 minutes before the scheduled departure of an AI flight to Delhi via Hyderabad, and was denied boarding pass, citing DGCA rules.
Reddy reportedly went to the cabin of AI manager at the airport, Rajasekhar, and picked up an "argument". He later "shouted" at the manager before allegedly slapping him, Yerpedu police station sub-inspector Ramakrishnaiah said, based on a complaint lodged by the victim.
An Air India spokesperson today said in New Delhi, "We are awaiting report (on the incident), and accordingly will look into it." The spokesperson, however, did not elaborate on the issue.
Reacting to the incident, Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said, "We are not trying to say anything. Report is coming in that a person discharging his duty has been manhandled. Now the principle is that a person discharging duty being mishandled does not augur well, particularly if it is by an MP. We don't want to witch hunt any one, law should be allowed to take its own course."
Based on the complaint of the Air India station manager, a case was registered last night against the MP and 15 others under sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 448 (house-trespass) of IPC.
"We are investigating the matter," the SI told PTI.
Some passengers, who were to board the flight, had also complained to the MP that the manager had allegedly misbehaved with them, after which Reddy went to Rajasekhar's cabin.
As per the DGCA rule, boarding counters for domestic flights close at least 45 minutes before departure time.
Reddy represents Rajampet constituency in Kadapa district.
When contacted for his reaction on the incident, Reddy said he was travelling and promised to get back. Subsequently, his cellphone was found switched off and since then he couldn't be contacted.
Meanwhile, Ambati Rambabu, a spokesperson of the Jaganmohan Reddy-led party, said he came to know about the police case through media.
Rambabu expressed inability to comment on the incident, saying he doesn't have enough information on hand to react at the moment.