Accusing Narendra Modi government of ‘siphoning’ off public money to bail out bankrupt private airlines, Congress on Wednesday said that Modi Government is seeking to privatise Air India and on the other hand they are buying a bankrupt private airline with public money.
Addressing mediapersons at AICC headquarters, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala asked “why is Modi Government giving a ‘bailout package’ to a bankrupt corporate entity like Jet Airways owned by foreign investors, out of public money, but not India’s debt ridden farmers?”
Pointing out that there are investigation into financial irregularities and siphoning off funds underway against the ailing private airline, Mr Surjewala said “if there are serious charges, like siphoning of funds, financial irregularities and it entails civil and criminal cases. In such a situation, is it appropriate for the Prime Minister and Finance Ministry to convert Rs 8500 crore debt into equity, and the equity, where the company has declared that it is making a loss of 67 rupees on every share”.
The Congress spokesperson asked why should public money of Rs 8500 crore be converted into equity of a company that claims to accumulate a current loss of Rs 7350 crore and debt of 8500 crore and is losing Rs 67 per share and why should the government bail out foreign companies.
“A London based NRI businessman, Naresh Goyal owns 51 percent of Jet Airways. 24 percent shareholding is owned by a foreign entity, Etihad Airways”, he said.
The Jet Airways is facing the worst-ever financial trouble and is not able to fund operations which has led to cancellations and grounding of flights.
Pilots and other staffs had threatened that they would not fly if they were not given salaries and other dues.
However, the Union government has intervened in the issue and reportedly asked public sector banks to convert Rs 8500 crore debt for equity shares Jet Airways valued at Rs 1 and take the stake of the private airline.
“The Government has also directed he National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF) to buy 24 percent stake at Etihad Airways at a value of Rs 150 per share”, said Mr Surjewala adding “this is being done without any independent financial valuation of Jet Airways or any due diligence. Modi Govt is in such a hurry that they are not even willing to await the result of their own investigations. “
“Public Money of ONGC was used to buy out a scam ridden collapsing GSPC for Rs 7,700 crore, hard earned savings of 38 crore LIC policy holders worth Rs 9,000 crore was used to save IDBI Bank, India’s lead public sector bank – SBI and others banks like PNB, Canara, Syndicate, Allahabad Banks are now being used by Mr Modi to ‘bail out’ a bankrupt private company” he alleged.
Mr Surjewala said private players will walk away happily, while the central government and PSU banks will be now running a bankrupt private airline and asked if the Modi government will save every defaulting crony capitalist out of public funds?”