Why use taxpayers’ money to save Jet Airways: Congress

‘Airline gets help, but not farmers’

The Congress on Wednesday accused the Centre of using Indian taxpayers’ money to bail out cash-strapped Jet Airways, owned by NRI businessman Naresh Goyal and a foreign airline.

At a press conference, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala questioned the move when the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) itself had ordered an inquiry into the airline after it received complaints of financial irregularities and siphoning of funds.

“Naresh Goyal, a London-based NRI, owns 51 per cent stake while Etihad Airways has 24 per cent stake. It means 75 per cent ownership is with an NRI and a foreign company,” Mr. Surjewala said. He told reporters that documents in the public domain indicate that the Modi government had asked public sector banks — SBI and the PNB — to waive loans to the tune of ₹8,500 crore by taking over the airline’s shares. “Why is the Modi government giving a ‘bailout package’ to a bankrupt corporate entity like Jet Airways owned by foreign investors, out of public money, but not to India’s debt-ridden farmers,” he asked.

“The PMO has issued two orders. It asked the SBI and other PSU banks to waive the loan by converting it into equity of ₹1. Also, it is going to pay ₹150 for every share to Etihad. Will the Modi government now save every defaulting crony capitalist out of public funds? ” asked the Congress leader.

He said the Ministry of Civil Aviation was conducting an investigation into the airline at the instance of Prime Minister’s Office on serious charge like siphoning of funds and financial irregularities.

“Is it appropriate for the Prime Minister and the Finance Ministry to convert ₹8,500 crore of debt into equity where the company itself is declaring that it is making a loss of ₹67 on every share…That is an answer that the Finance Minister and the Prime Minister need to give to people,” said the Congress spokesperson.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 5:29:59 AM |

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