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IndiGo’s Rakesh Gangwal won’t sell airline stake in feud with co-founder Rahul Bhatia

Gangwal has locked horns with Bhatia over his controlling rights which he alleges allows his partner to push through related-party transactions in violation of rules.

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New Delhi: Rakesh Gangwal, the co-founder of IndiGo, said he won’t sell his shareholding in India’s largest airline and will maintain his stake amid a feud with his partner Rahul Bhatia.

“I am here for the long haul,” Gangwal, who has accused Bhatia of corporate governance lapses, said by phone. “I have no desire to sell my stake or raise my stake.”

Gangwal, teamed up with Bhatia — a former airline sales agent — to create IndiGo in 2005, which quickly outpaced rivals to control almost half of the local market, and made both the founders billionaires. Once the chief executive officer at US Airways, Gangwal and his affiliates, own 37% of InterGlobe Aviation Ltd., which operates IndiGo, while his partner’s company holds a little more at 38%. A representative for Bhatia’s InterGlobe Enterprises Ltd. didn’t immediately respond to a request seeking comments.

The primary reason for the fight is the controlling rights held by Bhatia which Gangwal alleges allows his partner to push through related-party transactions in violation of rules. Bhatia’s firm, which has interest in a chain of hotels across India, has said all transactions are executed at an arms’ length basis and in a transparent manner.

“IndiGo has become too big and too critical a company for the country. It is bigger than me, it is bigger than Rahul Bhatia,” Gangwal said. “I am focusing on governance issues that have gone awry in this company and I am not seeking any additional control in the company.” – Bloomberg

Also read: IndiGo can’t fly high with fights in the cockpit


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