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Delhi HC upholds CCI's approval of Vistara-Air India merger

The Delhi High Court has rejected a petition against the Competition Commission of India's last year's order that approved the merger of Tata SIA Airlines, which operates under the brand name Vistara, with Air India.

Tata SIA Airlines is a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines.

While one Captain Deepak Kumar, a former Air India pilot, had alleged cartelisation and bid rigging in the merger of the two airlines, the antitrust watchdog had in December dismissed his plea, noting the absence of any substantive evidence to back the allegations.

Kumar then moved the HC alleging that the Commission passed the order without conducting any enquiry.

Justice Sanjeev Narula while upholding the CCI's order said that Kumar's plea contained numerous unsubstantiated and reckless allegations not supported by evidence but driven by malice.

The claims are made without any regard for truth and appear to be designed to manipulate or mislead. This approach not only discredits the Petitioner's credibility but also burdens the legal system unnecessarily. Therefore, in the court's view, given the absence of any substantiated claims and the apparent malicious intent behind the allegations, the present petition lacks merit, it said.

The HC also noted in its order that Kumar's petition also included "numerous unsubstantiated, wild, and scandalous allegations against the Prime Minister and a former Chief Justice of India", none of which are supported by documentary evidence.

In November 2022, the Tata Group and Singapore Airlines announced that they would merge their jointly owned airline Vistara into Air India, giving the Tata Group at least 51% stake in the merged entity. Singapore Airlines has a minority stakeholder with 25.1% stake.

www.economictimes.indiatimes.com, dt. 10-07-2024