#126 Surajeet Dasgupta: Jul 08, 2009 09:46:37

Praful Patel 'screwed up the airline'
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Niira Radia- Yeah Surajeet?

Surajeet Dasgupta- Hi! How are you?

Niira Radia- I am OK. He has been offered and he is not gonna take it. Don’t ask, don’t mention it, because basically at the end of the day Jhadav Patel met him ... whatever his name is Jhadav or...

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Surajeet Dasgupta- Ya ya..

Niira Radia- He met him and asked him as far as ..there are so many ills of airlines…ye tum likhoge to nahi (you won't write it, will you?)

Surajeet Dasgupta- Haan ekdum likhenge (Yes, of course I will) I am writing an edit on how Patel has screwed the airline

Niira Radia- Yeah , so basically now what they trying to do — all the deals they've made, they are trying to ratify it by having someone like Ratan Tata there...

Surajeet Dasgupta- Just to...

Niira Radia- Yeah, you k now…instead of getting…it's been …basically what have they done? They have done bilaterals, given away with the assets from the airline, their attempt was to...

Surajeet Dasgupta- Absolutely

Niira Radia- Their attempt was to asset-strip the airline, so that the two carriers would benefit naa. So given that the ... thankfully the economic downturn caused them a problem also, otherwise ye airline ko bech dete (they would have sold the airline)

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Surajeet Dasgupta- Hmmm, hmmmm

Niira Radia- So now they are trying to bring Ratan Tata in to show the Prime Minister ki they are going to do something…to wo to nahi kar rahe (he is not going to do it). He is not stupid naa…He knows that Patel is using him to ratify his own deals that he has done naato wo to nahi karega…wo to mujhe nahi lagata ki (It doesn't seem to me that he'd do it) he is going to take it on or anything. The government, Prime Minister gonna have to step in and take over the charge of national carrier.

Surajeet Dasgupta- Yeah, absolutely otherwise nahi hogaa (will not happen)

Niira Radia- They can't leave it to Praful Patel. I think if you are writing then you should write naa how he is screwed up the airline

Surajeet Dasgupta- Nahi nahi, I am doing, I am doing I am doing how he played the whole bilateral game and how he…gave rights to the... I am waiting for the figures I have got all the figures, I mean how Etihad was, Etihad Airlines was nowhere three years ago and now it is the fourth largest airline in India. Then Emirates, we got some very interesting figures like in 2004 when he came, there were 2.5 million seats were given on the middle east route, now it is 7.5 million

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Niira Radia- Yeah, And one other thing is at the time of disinvestment ... when Air India was disinvested, the most intrinsic value of Air India was its bilatrels, barring the…hangerage and of course and the ground handling and all that they had. Now with the privatisation of airport, that is open to all…

Surajeet Dasgupta- Yeah …

Niira Radia- So the question of that having any value no longer applies and what Air India has is the old equipment now... that’s why the real value of Air India becomes the real estate which is what these two private carriers want .unko to hangarage chahiye na so this

Surajeet Dasgupta- There asset was essentially bilaterals and hangarage

Niira Radia- No it was ground handling, it was MRO, it was all their backend engineering capacity including the hangers and space in Mumbai but now with the privatization of airport, that all changes, y'see

Surajeet Dasgupta- Yeah yeah….

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Niira Radia- Now ground handling and MRO is open to all…they destroyed now…they very people who are now trying to revive the Air India gave away the bilaterals, destroyed this value. Remember that the 40 MP who oppose the disinvestment of Air India and this thing included Praful Patel and Sharad Pawar ..Sharad Pawar then wrote to Vajpayee: Why are you not allowing Naresh Goel to bid for Air India so…

Surajeet Dasgupta- He wrote a letter. Is it?

Niira Radia- Bahut purani letter hai, Surajeet, us ko dig karne me mujhe ... I will have to go into storage

Surajeet Dasgupta- Achaa achaa

Niira Radia- But it is there, it’s on record I can assure you…nothing will be quoted wrong on it ..y'know and why was he not allowed? And these are the very people that are… today y'know trying to…so called… trying to put up a facade that they are trying to revive it. At that time the debt of airline was 3,000 crore in ' 98

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Surajeet Dasgupta- Ok

Niira Radia- They've taken it up to 14,000 crore and ... What is left? Huge huge huge orders. What are they gonna do with these airlines when the bilateral have been given away to everybody else in the competition? And then don’t forget to write about the merger

Surajeet Dasgupta- Yeah

Niira Radia- What good was the merger? It has only increased the problems. In fact what you should have done, which is what the earlier government was trying to do, was divest ground handling, divest MRO, so that they could became separate profit centres. Divest meaning. Air India, Indian Airlines still would have had equity in it, and they would still be the majority player, but divest it so they could have become separate profit centres and convert Air India, Indian Airlines into a virtual airline operation which is what is done world over . These are the very people that opposed it. They stopped these [] and the SIEC deal happening you remember..?

Surajeet Dasgupta- Yes, absolutely

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Niira Radia – And then they brought in middle man like Dipak Talwar and everybody else to do deals from the bilatrels

Surajeet Dasgupta- Got all the bilatrels from middle east…

Niira Radia – Yeah..yeah…so he worked to a conspiracy of the middle east carrier to destroy the national carrier successfully, poora asset strip kiya hai airline ka

Surajeet Dasgupta- Aur abhi badi badi baat kar rahen hain log

Niira Radia- Aur hai kya ..what he is trying to show now that he will turn it around?

Surajeet Dasgupta- I am going to get a CEO, all rubbish yaar

Niira Radia – Nobody can turn this airline around. If they want to do anything, they should get Sunil Arora back. He is the only...

Surajeet Dasgupta- Only guy. Yeah, absolutely

Niira Radia – No body else can do it…No body.. He is the only one who brought profitability to Indian Airlines in many years

Surajeet Dasgupta- Absolutely…

Niira Radia – So it was pretty much of a mess yeah…kya ye log… to Ratan Tata is not a stupid fool he is so…he will just write and tell them that he is not interested…wo jab aayega letter to main tumko bhej dungi wo abhi…he is in Is real right now.

Surajeet Dasgupta- We can say that he is not going to accept

Niira Radia – I think he should say that, y' know, he is unlikely to ... given that in his previous tenure as chairman Air India, he went through traumatic time: the same lobby that worked against him to ensure that he didn’t get Air India at that time, had worked against him on the domestic airline and I think that ..you know… that and he is far too occupied — he has got his own businesses today to run.. You can write that yeah.. Kya bhai log pagal ho gaye hain TOI bhi kar raha hai ye story. I am telling you, just letting you know: Ye log bhi ek centre- spread kar rahen hain pura Air India pe

Surajeet Dasgupta- Kaun?

Niira Radia – TOI

Surajeet Dasgupta- Achha

Niira Radia – Pata nahi kab kar rahen hain, abhi inhone likhna shuru nahi kiya lekin mujhe call aayaa tha kal ki please, help kar de. So I said look I am so caught up in my own thing but whatever little different pieces I know, I'll let you know but Jhadav gaya tha Ratan Tata ko milne ke liye haan

Surajeet Dasgupta- Achha achha

Niira Radia – He had gone to meet him on the request of Praful Patel

Surajeet Dasgupta- Achha

Niira Radia – Praful Patel himself should have gone and asked Ratan Tata

Surajeet Dasgupta- Hmmm

Niira Radia – To prime minister ko jaake puchhna chahiye tha ki why should Ratan Tata

Surajeet Dasgupta- Ramudurai ka nam bhi liyaa...

Niira Radia- Han, I don’t know Ram will take it, you know. I don’t know. In his independent capacity, he wants to take it, that’s up to them

Surajeet Dasgupta- Hmm

Niira Radia- But I think the Tatas feel at the end of the day, these were the very people who tried to stop him coming into the airline sector and had they come today this would not been the case in Air India

Surajeet Dasgupta- Eventually they will get a Sam Pitroda, useless fellow..

Niira Radia- Kya hoga? kuchh nahin hoga

Surajeet Dasgupta- Wo kuchh nahi karega wo faltu ka, bade bade lecture marega yahi sab hoga

Niira Radia- They need an operating guy, they need a man like Sunil Arora back

Surajeet Dasgupta- They will get a CEO from some firang.

Niira Radia- Kya karega? Air India union ko handle karna you know.... No firang will be able to handle it

Surajeet Dasgupta- He will run away after one year, ya.

Niira Radia- Chalo ok. Ok then, take care, bye…

Surajeet Dasgupta- Thanks


Transcribed by Amitesh and checked by OL

Next Story : #125 G. Ganapathy Subramaniam, ET: Jul 08, 2009 09:39:16
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