“Rotten Tata”: Subramanian Swamy threatens to initiate legal battle after Rata Tata-led Tata Sons emerges top bidder for Air India

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BJP Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy has threatened to initiate a legal battle against Rata Tata-led Tata Sons after the latter emerged as the top bidder for the takeover of Air India.

Responding to a tweet by a Twitter user, Swamy said, “Yes I can go to court after it signed and sealed and not at this stage.”

In another tweet, Swamy repeated his ‘Rotten Tata’ jibe for the Tata Sons Chairman Ratan Tata as he wrote, “J.R.D.TATA was given compensation &JRD agreed to remain Chairman of Air India for several years. Rotten Tata, is son of adopted Naval. RT has been in losses in most of Tata companies. He has pushed out able executives. Air Asia in which RT has majority shares is in a mess.”

A report by news agency PTI said that financial bids that also included by SpiceJet promoter Ajay Singh were opened a few days back before the Core Group of Secretaries on Disinvestment headed by Cabinet Secretary vetted them on Wednesday. These bids would now go for evaluation by the committee of ministers on Air India privatisation led by Home Minister Amit Shah.

However, Tuhin Kanta Pandey, Secretary to the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) – the government department responsible for privatisation, said that the bid by Tata Sons had not been approved by the government. “Media reports indicating approval of financial bids by Government of India in the AI disinvestment case are incorrect. Media will be informed of the Government decision as and when it is taken,” a tweet by him read.

Ironically, Air India was originally known as Tata Airlines before the Indian government took control of the company in 1953, six years of independence from British rule. JRD Tata, however, remained its chairman until 1977.

The Indian government is seeking to fully privatise the debt-ridden national carrier. There were no takers to a similar move in 2018 when the Modi government decided to sell 76 percent of its stakes in Air India. The winner of the bid would also own the Air India building in Mumbai and Airlines House in Delhi, reported Hindustan Times.