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Ex-civil aviation minister wants Tata to name who sought bribe

Bangalore, Nov 16 (IANS) C.M. Ibrahim, who was union civil aviation minister in 1996-97, late Monday demanded that Tata Group head Ratan Tata name the minister who sought Rs.15 crore bribe to allow the group to run an airlines service as alleged by him.

‘The law at the time did not allow any foreign airline stake in running domestic airline service. I made this clear to Ratan Tata,’ Ibrahim, civil aviation minister under then prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda, told reporters here.

He was reacting to a startling statement of Ratan Tata earlier Monday at Dehradun that an industrialist had told him ‘You people are stupid. You know the minister wants Rs.15 crore. So why don’t you pay it?.’

The Tata Group wanted to start an airline service in association with Singapore airlines in 1990s. It also bid to build a new international airport at Bangalore which too it did not get to do.

‘They wanted to build, operate and own the airport. I told them it should be handed over to the government after 30 years. I wanted it to be on BOT (build-operate-transfer) basis. They did not agree,’ Ibrahim, how in Congress, said.

He said he was ready for any probe and in fact would be writing to the prime minister to initiate a probe.

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