CCI clears Air India merger of cartelisation charges, shuts complaint by former pilot

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has ruled out any cartelisation or bid rigging in the recent consolidation involving Air India Ltd, dismissing a complaint filed by former pilot Deepak Kumar. 

The CCI’s decision was based on the rejection of Kumar’s claims, noting that it did not find any adverse impact on his career or service record due to the merger of Tata SIA Airlines Ltd (Vistara Airlines) and Air India Ltd.

It maybe recalled that CCI had in end August approved the merger of Tata SIA Airlines Ltd into Air India Ltd, and acquisition of certain additional shareholding by Singapore Airlines (SIA) in Air India subject to compliance of voluntary commitments offered by the parties.

In its ruling issued on Friday on the matter of Deepak Kumar’s complaint, the Commission highlighted that there was no substantial evidence presented by him to support his allegations of cartelisation or bid rigging. Instead, the CCI noted an internal dispute regarding Kumar’s service with Air India, which the commission considered beyond the purview of competition concerns.


Kumar, in his complaint, vehemently opposed the merger, alleging that Air India maliciously tampered with his service records under the guise of the consolidation. He alleged that the merger had led to an adverse impact on his career and service record. 

Furthermore, he accused Tata Group and Air India of colluding, insinuating a cartel formation as Singapore Airlines aimed to acquire shares in Air India while supposedly concealing crucial facts related to his service.

Additionally, Kumar raised allegations of criminal nature against specific individuals, attributing their involvement in actions against him within Air India.

The CCI’s ruling clarified that Kumar’s claims failed to establish any contravention of competition laws. As a result, the Commission directed the closure of the matter under Section 26(2) of the Act, emphasising that the case did not present a prima facie case against Air India regarding any violations.

This decision by the Competition Commission of India puts to rest the allegations of cartelisation and bid rigging in the Air India merger, concluding that the concerns raised by the former pilot lacked substantial evidence to support claims of anti-competitive behaviour, experts said.

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