All shareholders who were present at the 16
th annual general meeting of IndiGo had one common concern: Where are Rakesh Gangwal and Dr Anupam Khanna?
The two board members of IndiGo had raised concerns about lack of corporate governance, independence of M Damodaran as chairman and questionable related-party transactions at the airline. While Gangwal is a co-founder who owns 36.7 percent of the airline, Dr Khanna, a year senior of Gangwal at IIT-Kanpur, is an independent director at the company board.
While no one answered the shareholderâs queries on the absence of the two board members for a long time, company secretary Sanjay Gupta and promoter Rahul Bhatia responded to some of these queries after a while.
Sanjay Gupta informed shareholders that one of the two had informed of his absence prior to the annual general meeting, the other did not. A senior executive at the company later confirmed that Dr Anupam Khanna, who also heads the nomination and remuneration committee, had informed of his absence prior to the AGM while Gangwal did not.
Rahul Bhatia, who initially maintained silence on these queries, on being asked repeatedly, told the shareholders that âit is for them (Gangwal and Dr Khanna) to answerâ but smiled a bit and added, âMai hoo naâ.
CEO Ronojoy Dutta, board member M Damodaran, promoter Rahul Bhatia, Rohini Bhatia, Anil Parashar, company secretary Sanjay Gupta were among those present at the AGM on Tuesday.
The shareholders also asked the company as to why Rakesh Gangwal questioned the independence of M Damodaran as chairmanÂ and were disappointed at the loss of share value due to the dispute between the two promoters. They also wanted to know Gangwalâs rationale in setting up a website for dissemination of company information.
Acknowledging the contributions made by Gangwal in the companyâs success, the shareholders also inquired whether he will continue to play an important role in the negotiations with the original equipment manufacturers going ahead.
CEO Ronojoy Dutta answered this query later and informed the shareholders that Mr. Riyaz PeerMohamed, Chief Aircraft Acquisition and Financing Officer, who led the negotiations with CFM in the engine deal for 280 Airbus A320 family aircraft, will handle the negotiations for narrow-body and wide-body aircraft going ahead.
âWe buy Aircraft, engine at good price and that is something we should not weaken. Riyaz Mohammed-led aircraft finance group conducted the negotiations for 280 aircraft. CFM told us that you taught us more about engine procurement than we ever knew about. CFM told us that to send our 3 people there to give a seminarâ¦ We are getting weaker and better,â Dutta told the shareholders, thereby, making it clear that Mohammed, not Gangwal, will lead such negotiations going forward.
Nonetheless, the shareholders continued to stress, even towards the end of the AGM, that they were disappointed over Gangwalâs absence and even asked Bhatia to send him a text on WhatsApp as to why he is not here.âI can assure you that he is not on WhatsAppâ¦ shaam me baat karenge,â Bhatia responded.