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March 17 deadline for Air India Sale; Swami threatens to move court

Opposition joined by RS MP Subramanian Swamy alleges centre of selling assets as Govt sets March 17 the deadline for bidding of Air India sale, Govt intends to sell 100% stake in the debt ridden national carrier
New Delhi: The government is out with the bidding document on Air India sale. The last date for bidding is March 17. The buyer will also get the 100 percent of the low-cost arm Air India Express and 50% of AISATS, a joint venture between Air India and SATS Ltd, which provides cargo and ground handling services at major Indian airports. According to the bid document, the control of the carrier will remain with an Indian entity. The successful bidder in Air India sale would win control of the airline's 4,400 domestic landing and parking slots and 1,800 international slots at Indian airports, as well as 900 slots at airports overseas.

'Air India sale of 100% stake'

According to the bidding document the government intends to sell all 100 percent stake in the national carrier that operates extensively on both domestic and international routes. The potential buyer or the bidder who has to submit the EoI before March 17 will also have to agree to assume roughly Rs 23,000 crore in debt, along with other liabilities, according to the document.
"Air India disinvestment process restarts today. THIS DEAL IS WHOLLY ANTI NATIONAL and I WILL FORCED TO GO TO COURT. WE CANNOT SELL OUR FAMILY SILVER"- Subramanian Swamy, MP, Rajya Sabha
In the last attempt, the govt had tried to sell as much as 76 percent of stake in Air India which did not fetch any result as the potential buyers viewed 5.6 billion debt as too difficult a condition. The government could not fetch a single bidder in the last attempt.

Subramanian Swamy joins opposition bandwagon

Dr Subramanian Swamy, the RS MP supported by BJP has come out in open against Modi government's decision to sell 100 percent stake in Air India sale. He even threatened to move court against the decision of the central government. "Air India disinvestment process restarts today. THIS DEAL IS WHOLLY ANTI NATIONAL and I WILL FORCED TO GO TO COURT. WE CANNOT SELL OUR FAMILY SILVER (sic)," he tweeted. Meanwhile, sources within Air India said that the national carrier has some of India's most lucrative international and domestic landing and parking slots and these are the costliest assets that any airline would be proud of.