Like the puppeteer feigning invisibility, the Indian Government is contradicting itself with public statements around Air India. In efforts to defend against legal actions filed by shareholders and investors of Devas Multimedia, the government desperately attempts to distance itself from the national carrier and claims it is not an ‘alter ego’. Yet at the same time, the same government is publicly driving, directing and controlling the entire process of selling the state-owned airline.
The Indian Express reported last week that “the loss making airline is also in advanced stages of being disinvested by the government, with the Centre saying multiple entities had submitted expressions of interest.”
An Indian Finance Ministry official is quoted as saying, “One should not speculate if it will delay the disinvestment process … disinvestment process will not stall, there is no need to be concerned on that front.”
The Business Standard reports that the government is likely to indemnify acquirers of privatized companies from such claims – but after the treatment of Devas and its prominent investors, who’s going to believe that?
Read more about Devas’ filing to pursue assets of Air India here.
Read more about a similar action against Air India filed by British firm Cairn Energy here.