PM responsible for AI mess: BJP

PMO favoured Jadhav as CMD, alleges Rudy


Sweta Ranjan | August 8, 2011

Air India is in a total mess and the BJP has directly blamed prime minister Manmohan Singh for it. Moreover, the main opposition has alleged that "proper procedure" was not followed by a team comprising the PM’s principal secretary TKA Nair in selecting Arvind Jadhav as the carrier's CMD two years ago.

Addressing a press conference on Saturday, former civil aviation minister and BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the PMO went out of its way in choosing Jadhav and former CMD Raghu Menon's tenure was curtailed to favour Jadhav.

Rudy also released a letter he has written to the PM, seeking explanation. [Read the letter here]

Based on the information received from the cabinet secretariat after an RTI query, Rudy has alleged that Jadhav was selected by the search committee despite having no "domain experience".
A search committee formed in 2008 had rejected Jadhav’s name as he had no experience of aviation industry, but a year later another search committee selected his name. Then cabinet secretary K M Chandrasekhar and PM’s principal secretary Nair were members of both committees.

"What was the motive in making this hurried appointment while the whole nation was in the midst of elections? The appointment was made on April 24, 2009 and the elections were held between April 16 and May 13. Why did the prime minister allow an impropriety to be committed?" Rudy asked.

The BJP leader said that Jadhav’s appointment shows he enjoys the support of the PMO for his decisions which have further worsened the condition of the national carrier.

"The CMD does not report to the aviation ministry. He has instead been reporting directly to someone in the PMO. I shall not name him. Therefore, my questions are aimed at the PMO which is de facto running this airline. AI's decline has been caused by various factors for which the pilots are not responsible," said Rudy.

Rudy said the prime minister should own up the responsibility for the affairs of the Air India as he "allowed a committee to manipulate" Jadhav's appointment.

"Air India under Jadhav has accumulated loss of Rs 18,000 crore, debt of Rs 40,000 crore and working capital loan of Rs 21,000 crore. Besides these, it owes Rs 3,700 crore and Rs 3,000 as debt to oil companies and employees, respectively. Its total financial liability is a whopping Rs 74,000 crore," Rudy said.



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