A group of 219 Air India Limited employees, led by the Commercial Director of the National Carrier, Meenakshi Malik, had submitted a bid to purchase 51 per cent of the loss-making Air India
The Indian Pilots' Guild and the Indian Commercial Pilots' Association have raised strong objection to the employees bid for disinvestment of the state-owned carrier. They say that Meenakshi Malik, is the head of the commercial department and it is clear that she has access to insider information about the entire network and business plan both current as well as the future. This amounts to a clear conflict of interest. www.indianpsu.com reproduces here, the letter written by the pilot bodies to Rajiv Bansal, CMD of Air India, copies of which have been sent to the offices of the Prime Minister, the Civil Aviation Minister and CBI amongst others
Mr. Rajiv Bansal
Chairman and Managing Director Air India Ltd
Subject: Conflict of interest for strategic disinvestment of Air India
This is with reference to the office order HPD01/Disinvestment/2020 dated 16th December 2020 through which it has been acknowledged that a consortium of management employees have submitted a bid for strategic disinvestment of Air India. This office order, issued with your approval, directs all participating employees to inform Headquarters and expressly forbids them from handling any policy/strategic matter with a direct or indirect bearing to the disinvestment of Air India.
We note that the very head of this management consortium, the current Commercial Director, Ms. Meenakshi Malik, has not yet come under the purview of this office order. She has been quite vocal in the media in the last few days, so her intent to bid for Air India should not come as a surprise to anyone. In her position as the head of the commercial department, it is clear that she has access to insider information about our entire network and business plan both current as well as the future. In fact, her decisions as head of the commercial department directly affect the health of the airline and consequently it’s market worth to potential bidders. There is a gaping conflict of interest here. If she does justice to her current role as Commercial Director of Air India, the airline does well and generates more market interest as well as direct competition for her bid for the disinvestment. Alternatively, the potential misuse of insider information to actively sabotage the functioning of the airline and stave off market interest cannot be overlooked. We are certain that you appreciate this Catch-22 situation and have therefore issued the office order in the larger interest of the Airline.
At this very crucial juncture we do not have the luxury of relinquishing our responsibilities as the national carrier. To see us through these volatile times, it is best if all horses pull in the same direction. We therefore strongly urge you to follow through this office order in letter and spirit and immediately replace her as well as any other key management employee bidders holding such sensitive positions.