Singapore Airlines deal: AirAsia India director accuses Tata Group of being unethical

ENS Economic Bureau Posted online: Saturday, Sep 21, 2013 at 0000 hrs
New Delhi : Differences seem to have cropped up among the shareholders of AirAsia India, a day after the Tata Group announced to form another airline joint venture with Singapore International Airlines on Thursday. Arun Bhatia, who is a director on AirAsia India board and owns 21 per cent in the company through Telestra Tradeplace, accused the Tata Group of being unethical.

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Bhatia said: “I was shocked to hear about Tata Sons’ new JV with Singapore Airlines. Tatas should have informed me also. They kept me in the dark. It is unethical on their part. I have options of exiting or buying out Tata Sons stake. I will not exit the proposed airline and am ready to buy Tata Sons stake, if offered,” he was quoted by a news channel.

Apart from Bhatia, the Tata Group owns 30 per cent and the rest 49 per cent is owned by AirAsia in the Indian venture.

Several calls and messages sent on Bhatia’s mobile did not elicit any response.

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When contacted, an AirAsia insider said the Tata Group did not violate any clause of the joint venture agreement. “They had showed their intent for their tie-up with SIA. It is an internal matter. The new venture by them is not a violation of the shareholders agreement between us. Besides the business models of both are different,” said the insiders.

He added that all is well with the joint venture and they are going to make an important announcement next week.