Government puts down reports claiming Tata Group as the winner of Air India bidding

The rumours began to surface after Bloomberg had reported earlier that the conglomerate would re-acquire the national airline 68 years after relinquishing its control to the government when Air India was nationalised in 1953.

The Indian Government has put to rest the rumours of Tata Group emerging as the winners in the bid for Air India against Ajay Singh led Spicejet. The rumours began to surface after Bloomberg had reported earlier that the conglomerate would re-acquire the national airline 68 years after relinquishing its control to the government when Air India was nationalised in 1953.

Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) secretary on Friday, October 1, took to Twitter to term media reports claiming approval of financial bids by the government in the Air India disinvestment case as ‘incorrect’.

“Media reports indicating approval of financial bids by Government of India in the AI disinvestment case are incorrect,” DIPAM secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey tweeted on Friday, clarifying that “Media will be informed of the Government decision as and when it is taken.” 

As per media reports now proven to be inaccurate, A panel of ministers had accepted a proposal from officials recommending the Tata Group ahead of an offer from Ajay Singh, both of whom had been engaged in a bidding war to take over the debt-ridden state-run carrier since April 2021. 

It has now been reported that the final decision regarding the bidding process will be taken by The Air India Specific Alternative Mechanism (AISAM) panel headed by Home Minister Amit Shah. The panel is yet to meet to approve the sale of Air India, an official said. The panel includes Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia as its members.

A total of four bidders had pitched in bids to take over Air India but only Tata Group and Spicejet CEO Ajay Singh made it to the final round. The bidding process was set to conclude last month as the last day of placing financial bids was reportedly September 15. While no winner between the two competitors has been announced yet, the winning bidder will hold a 100 per cent stake in Air India and its low-cost arm Air India Express, along with a 50 per cent stake in ground handling company Air India SATS Airport Services Private Limited (AISATS).

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