The Descent of Air India, a book authored by Jitendra Bhargava, former executive director of the state carrier, will be withdrawn by its publishers Bloomsbury Publishing India.

The book, as the title suggests, attempts to chronicle the decline of Air India and alleges that it was the policies driven by several persons, including the then Civil Aviation Minister and now Heavy Industries Minister Praful Patel and then Chairman and Managing Director V. Thulasidas, which were responsible for the present state of Air India. Soon after the book was released in November, Patel had filed a criminal defamation suit against Bhargava and Bloomsbury before the Metropolitan

Magistrate, Mumbai.

Sources said that the publishers agreed to apologise to Patel last week.

On Wednesday, the publisher apologised to Patel through an advertisement in leading newspapers, for the contents in the book.

“In the said book, the author has made certain comments about Praful Patel, Member of Parliament and Union Minister. If the contents of the book have caused any embarrassment to Patel, we regret the same as it was not our intention to discredit him in any manner,” the advertisement said.In an e-mail response, Bhargava said: “While I told the judge on January 6, 2013 that everything stated in the book about Praful Patel is true, backed by documented evidence and will be duly justified and contested in the honourable court, the publishers, Bloomsbury, on whom also the notice was served, decided not to pursue it, and instead agreed to offer an apology to Praful Patel. This decision of Bloomsbury was unilateral, and without discussing with me, as an author.”

(This article was published on January 15, 2014)
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