Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata on Monday said he had to give up his dream of launching an airline as he was not comfortable bribing a minister, as had been suggested by an industrialist.
"We approached three prime ministers. But an individual thwarted our efforts to form the airlines," said Tata about his company's proposed collaboration with Singapore Airlines that ultimately fell through.
"I did not want to go to bed knowing well that I set up an airlines by paying Rs 15 crore (as bribe)," said Tata while delivering a lecture on 'India in 21st Century: Opportunities and Challenges'.
While Tata did not name anyone, fingers are being pointed at C.M. Ibrahim, then aviation minister. Ibrahim is infuriated and has demanded that Tata name the minister.
The industrialist's remarks have sparked off a reaction from the BJP. Party spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said in Patna that Tata's remarks were ambiguous and he should clarify his charges.
Ironically it was Ratan Tata's predecessor J.R.D. Tata who set up India's first commercial airline, Tata Airlines. It was taken over by the government in the 1950s and turned into Air India. Ratan Tata tried thrice to re-enter the family business but failed.