Updated: January 7, 2022 7:39:52 am
The Delhi High Court on Thursday dismissed BJP MP Subramanian Swamy’s petition against the Air India disinvestment process and said that the Centre’s policy decision is not open to interference in judicial review in the absence of any illegality and arbitrariness being established by the petitioner.
The court also said the decision on disinvestment was taken after following transparent procedure through multi-layered decision-making.
The disinvestment process of Air India had started in June 2017. Talace Private Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Sons Pvt Ltd, emerged as the highest bidder last year. Challenging the process of privatisation, Swamy had argued that there is an ongoing investigation against AirAsia, where one of the shareholders is AirAsia Investment Ltd, Malaysia, and that they have direct and indirect control over Talace. He also contended that the bidding process was tailor-made to facilitate Talace in acquiring Air India by entertaining the bid on behalf of SpiceJet, against which insolvency proceedings are going on before Madras High Court. In the verdict pronounced on Thursday, the division bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh said neither Tata Sons nor Talace are facing any criminal proceedings in relation to a petition filed by Swamy in 2013 or in other matter. The bench said it is an admitted case of Swamy that Talace is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Sons.
“Both [Talace] and Tata Sons Ltd are Indian entities and, therefore, no question arises of violation of Foreign Direct Investment Policy. Moreover, AirAsia (India) Pvt Ltd has no interest in M/s Talace Pvt Ltd, who is the highest bidder,” HC said.
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