The BJP on Monday said Ratan Tata's comment that he was not comfortable with the idea of bribing a minister to enter the airline business appeared ambiguous and asked him to clarify.
"I have heard about what he has said, but his comments appear to be an ambiguous ... there must be a background to his comments which he should elaborate," BJP national spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy told reporters.
"I will be extremely happy to reply if he brings more facts to it," Rudy said referring to the comments by Tata.
Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata in Dehradun said he did not enter the airline business as he was not comfortable with the idea of bribing Rs 15 crore to a minister, as had been suggested by an industrialist.
He, however, did not name the individual.
After taking over the reins of the group, Ratan Tata had tried at least on three occassions to pursue the aviation business and accordingly moved the government of the day in 1995, 1997 and 2001.
The last time (2001), it was the BJP government when Tatas and Singapore Airlines withdrew as sole bidders their joint bid for Air India, citing political opposition to the sale.
"Ratan Tata, being a proven industrialist and head of a business empire that has contributed immensely to infrastructure development of the country, must be taken seriously when he says something,"
Rudy, who was the union aviation minister in 2003 during the NDA rule at the Centre, said that the process of privatising airline business in the country was opened during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and decks were cleared for the private airliners to enter into it.
A number of private companies entered the airline business in an open competition and some survived and prospered, while several others vanished, the former union aviation minister said.
Rudy also credited himself with operationalisation of low-cost airline business in 2003 to make the aviation sector an affordable means of transportation.