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Air India book withdrawn, Patel gets apology

Jitender Bhargava

Bloomsbury India has withdrawn all copies of Jitender Bhargava's book The Descent of Air India from bookstores. The publishers have also tendered an apology to former aviation minister Praful Patel, who has been portrayed in an unflattering light in the book. Bhargava had claimed, in his book, that Patel's tenure as aviation minister was marked by wasteful and grandiose decisions, like spending Rs 3.5 crore on advertisements that celebrated India's victory in the 2007 T20 World Cup. Bhargava was the executive director of Air India until 2010. In a Facebook post, he responded to Bloomsbury's decision thus: "This decision of Bloomsbury was unilateral, and without discussing with me, as an author. Their stand thus naturally came to me as a surprise. And it may surprise you too, when you see the apology of Bloomsbury published in the newspapers. As everything stated in the book is true, based on documents, I will have The Descent of Air India reprinted; either on my own or through a new publisher. Simultaneous action is being initiated to bring out The Descent of Air India, as an e-book. I am told this can take up to four-five weeks. (...)I will be back soon because neither can I be bulldozed into submission nor can facts be allowed to be suppressed. In today's environment, corrupt practices of all people, howsoever powerful, must be exposed." In the same post, the author also claimed that Patel had misused his influence with airport operators, in order to keep his book off airports.

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