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2-min read

Air India Privatisation Deal a Potential Scam, Says Subramanian Swamy

Warning that he would be following the Air India privatisation deal very closely, Subramanian Swamy said he would file a criminal complaint and take it to court if found out there was any kind of scam in the deal.

News18.com

Updated:March 31, 2018, 5:46 PM IST
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Air India Privatisation Deal a Potential Scam, Says Subramanian Swamy
File image of BJP member Subramanian Swamy. (Image: PTI)

New Delhi: BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Saturday hit out at the central government led by his party over its plans to privatise Air India.

Comparing the state-owned flagship airline to ‘family silver’, Swamy took to Twitter to voice his opinion.

Selling the family silver is not divestment, he said while claiming the proposed sale of AI is another scam in the making.

Warning that he would be following the deal very closely, he said he would file a criminal complaint and take it to court if found out there was any kind of scam in the deal.

Swamy is not the only one who has expressed reservations about the deal. Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has also expressed reservations about the deal.

“I am sorry to read in the media about the government inviting expression of interest for selling Air India, the jewel of our nation,” she said.

“We strongly oppose this and want this order to be withdrawn immediately. This government must not be allowed to sell our country,” she added.

Congress leader Ahmed Patel has also expressed reservations about the AI privatisation deal. Expressing shock over the move, Government will sell 76% equity but will retain 52% of the company’s debt? Isn’t this a complete sell out designed to benefit certain private agents? He has asked.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation has permitted a consortium of entities to bid for Air India. The consortium will have one lead member with each entity holding 20% share.

The Centre also proposed selling 76% stakes in Air India to private parties, with the condition that the brand 'Air India' will be retained and the control of the national-carrier will be with Indian nationals.

The government in its statement proposed only companies with the minimum net worth of Rs 5,000 crore can bid for Air India and the lead member shall hold at least 51% of paid-up capital.

While the government remains committed to privatising the airline and Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha has reiterated his stand in the past that Air India would be in private hands by December, time seems to be running out in the government's efforts.

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| Edited by: Ashish Yechury
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