BJP MP asks Hardeep Puri to disqualify Tata Sons from Air India’s bidding process
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Rajya Sabha member of parliament (MP) Subramanian Swamy has written to civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri, urging the government to disqualify Tata Sons from the Air India disinvestment process till a final decision on his plea against Tata Sons & Air Asia India is taken by the court. Subramanian in 2013 had filed a writ petition in the Delhi high court challenging the illegal grant of license to Air Asia India which is a joint venture with Tata Sons. According to Subramanian, his hearing was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the next date is in January 2021.
The letter written by Subramanian on December 14 not only mentioned his writ petition but also the first information report (FIR) registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on April 28, 2018. The MP also mentioned that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) too has case of money laundering registered against some of the officials of Air Asia for obtaining Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval from the finance ministry.
Tata Sons did not respond to the paper’s query.
Subramanian’s letter read, “In my Writ Petition on 09.07.2018 seeking a status report by CBI and ED in Air Asia India Pvt. Ltd...the order dated 11.07.2019 honourable Delhi High court impleaded CBI as a respondent and had issued notice for the purposes of getting status report with respect to the instant matter in a sealed cover.”
Subramanian stated that it was evident from the documents and facts that Air Asia Berhad (a suffix used in Malaysia to identify a public limited company) of Malaysia and all the accused involved falsely prepared documents and created an “optical Illusion for the purpose of securing permission from the government of India with a premeditated conspiracy to illegally grab control of air space of domestic airlines by foreign airlines violating various norms”.
The MP said, “I have learnt from various news reports that Tata Group is In the race to buy Air India and has started negotiations with Singapore Airlines to buy out Air India. In public Interest and in the interest of justice, Tata Sons and/or with any other foreign or domestic airlines in Joint venture or alone should be disqualified from the process of bidding or any other procedure initiated by the government to buy Air India till final adjudication of my PIL before the Delhi high court and Supreme Court and any/all investigations is pending with ED ot CBI or any other authority probing the subject matter.”