Jet-Etihad deal under examination: PMO

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AIRWAYSNew Delhi, July 2;Amid controversy over the Jet Airways-Etihad deal, the Prime Minister’s Office on Tuesday said the stake sale matter was still under examination and the issues raised have been referred to various concerned Ministries.

It also asserted there were no differences within the government over the air services agreement between India and Abu Dhabi.

The PMO’s clarification came amid objections to the deal, first raised by a Parliamentary Standing Committee headed by CPI(M) MP Sitaram Yechury, and then by MPs Jaswant Singh and Dinesh Trivedi, and Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy, who shot off letters to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Responding to reports over the India-UAE (Abu Dhabi) Bilateral Air Services Agreement and the Jet Airways-Etihad equity proposal, the PMO said these reports are “factually incorrect and baseless.”

Referring to the bilateral agreement, it said “there is absolutely no disagreement within the government or between the Ministers and the Prime Minister on the matter. The Prime Minister is neither washing his hands off the Bilateral Air Services Agreement nor is the Prime Minister’s Office trying to do a U-turn on the issue now.”

About the stake sale issue between Jet Airways and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, the PMO said this was a “distinctly different” matter as it was an agreement between two private parties.

“This is a matter between private parties which needs to be approved by the concerned agencies as per the policies and laws in place. This is not an agreement between governments and there is no question either backtracking from or disowning this proposal as this is not an agreement with the government,” it said in a statement.

“As for the equity stake matter, that is a matter still under examination,” it said.

The issues raised over the deal have been referred to the Civil Aviation Ministry, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Department of Economic Affairs and the Corporate Affairs Ministry “for examination and appropriate action as they were concerned with various aspects of the complaints.”

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