Swamy red-flags AI-sale but BJP colleague Piyush Goyal calls it a gold-mine

Source :SIFY
Author :SIFY
Last Updated: Fri, Jan 24th, 2020, 17:52:58hrs
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Swamy red-flags AI-sale but BJP colleague Piyush Goyal calls it a gold-mine
New Delhi/Davos: The Government's plan to sell Air India, the national carrier seems to have ended with differing opinions within the national political party.

On Thursday, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy was reported as having raised a red flag about the government's decision to go ahead with an Expression of Interest from potential suitors.

Piyush Goyal, the minister for Commerce and Railways and Swamy's colleague in the national political party however, called the deal a "gold-mine", according to a PTI report.

Swamy, a senior leader, was quoted in an IANS report as saying that the disinvestment plant was still pending an approval from a consultative committee.

"Right now, it (Air India disinvestment) is before the consultative committee and I am a member of that. I have been asked to give a note which will be discussed in the next meeting. They can't go ahead without that," Swamy explained.

"If they do, I will go to court. They know that too," he added.

The same day, Piyush Goyal, the minister for Railways and Commerce revealed his opinions on the Air India stake sale to reporters while speaking at the World Economic Forum 2020 at Davos.

Responding to a query on disinvestment of several companies including Air india and BPCL, Goyal, said, "If I wasn't a minister today, I would be bidding for Air India. It has some of the best bilaterals the world over... a well managed and efficient Air India with lot more good aircraft put in using these bilaterals is nothing short of a gold mine to my mind,"

Subramanian Swamy has been a vocal opponent of the privatisation of Air India. He had previously suggested listing 49 per cent of Air India shares on the stock exchanges. According to his idea, the government could hold the remainder 51 per cent in the carrier as an alternative to selling the entire stake to private companies.

A stake sale exercise was conducted during Modi 1.0 however after a failed attempt, the Modi 2.0 is looking to sweeten the deal by removing large chunks of debt and liabilities from AI's books.

Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had earlier said that Air India will be shut down, in case the disinvestment exercise is not successful.

According to the IANS report, the preliminary information memorandum (PIM) inviting EoI has been tentatively scheduled to be unveiled on January 27.

Air India is proposed to be sold along with its subsidiary Air India Express and ground-handling joint venture company Air India Singapore Airport Terminal Services Ltd (AISATS) in which it has 50 per cent stake.

Air India on January 10 came out with tender for engaging aircraft asset management companies for carrying out technical audit of its entire fleet.

A Ministerial panel on Air India chaired by Home Minister Amit Shah on January 7 approved the draft EoI and a share purchase agreement (SPA) for the airline's disinvestment.

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