'Today No One Can Pressurise You': Aircel Founder C. Sivasankaran Reflects On Business Freedom In Modi Regime

'Today No One Can Pressurise You': Aircel Founder C. Sivasankaran Reflects On Business Freedom In Modi Regime

To a question of why didn't he sell then to others, Sivasankaran replied that "I can't. Because India was not like this a decade ago. Today no one can pressurize you."

G R MukeshUpdated: Thursday, May 23, 2024, 06:33 PM IST
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Aircel Founder C. Sivasankaran |

Aircel, once a major player in the telecom sector of India, emerged as a beacon of innovation and connectivity during its tenure. Founded by Chinnakannan Sivasankaran, the company at the times gained traction with its services but the journey of the telecom operator was not without its challenges, including fierce competition and regulatory hurdles. The company exited the market in February 2018.

In a recent episode of a podcast hosted by Raj Shamani 'Figuring Out,' Chinnakannan Sivasankaran, the founder of Aircel, shared his experience from a decade ago, that is, during the UPA era and contrasted them with the current business landscape under the Modi regime.

During the podcast, Sivasankaran recounted an era a decade ago, when the burgeoning businesses in India faced a significant pressures. He pointed out the coercive nature of these pressures, quoting, "If your business started growing, you were pressured to 'sell to a particular person'."

When the host questioned him about the sale of Aircel, that is, how much money did he made out of Aircel, Sivasankaran said, "I just made a partly sum of Rs 3400 crores. If I would have sold it to AT&T, I would have got 8 Billion."

To a question of why didn't he sell then to others, Sivasankaran replied that "I can't. Because India was not like this a decade ago. Today no one can pressurize you."

"Now you build a business, no one can pressurize you," he added. "Now it is liberalised India. You can do what you want."

About Aircel exit from market

Aircel, had to shut down due to financial problems.

It was owned by Malaysia's Maxis Telecom, which bought a 74 per cent stake in Aircel for USD 1.08 billion in 2005.

By 2017, Aircel was struggling with severe financial issues and eventually shut down its operations and the company filed for bankruptcy in 2018.

As of October 2019, Aircel owed the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) around a sum of Rs 12,389 crore in license fees and spectrum usage charges. Aircel tried to sell its assets, including its tower business, to pay off its debts, but couldn't find a buyer and went into liquidation.

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