Noted industrialist Ratan Tata today refuted reports about his partnership with Arnon Milchan and claim of huge profit in an alleged graft case involving Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
A statement issued on behalf of Tata said that the "reports in the media of a 'partnership with Mr Arnon Milchan' and the claim of 'a huge profit' are both factually incorrect and appear to be motivated."
Ratan Tata's name figured in the Israeli police recommendations seeking to indict Netanyahu on graft charges, according to an Israeli media report.
Tata's office said the project being referred to by the Israeli media was a proposal received in 2009 from the Israeli establishment.
Israel government sought the assistance of the Tata group in preparing a concept plan for a low volume automotive assembly plant on banks of the Jordan river, the statement said, adding the Israeli proposal was part of a broader peace initiative with Palestine.
"The intention was to provide skilled employment to Palestinians. To be viable, the plan envisaged the establishment of a free trade corridor to Haifa to facilitate exports and offset higher logistics costs in Israel," it added.
The discussions on the project were directly held between a Tata team and the Israeli authorities, and not with Arnon Milchan, as stated by the Israeli media, Tata's office said.
"Mr Tata wishes to clarify once again that there has never been any partnership in any such project with Mr Milchan," it added.
Tata's office said that a broad concept plan for a low output automobile assembly plant was prepared by Tata Motors but the same never reached the stage of detailed planning or costing, as the peace initiative itself was not put in place.
"The car project died a natural death. During Mr Tatas visit to Tel Aviv, on November 1, 2017, to address a conference on Mobility, he met a team of Israeli investigators at their request, and enunciated these facts to them," the statement said.
In the so-called Case 1000, in which Netanyahu and his wife Sara are suspected of receiving illicit gifts from billionaire benefactors, Israeli-born Hollywood producer Milchan and Australian resort owner James Packer, the Indian industrialist is also said to be a part of a project that Netanyahu tried to push forward to help Milchan.
"According to the police, the most glaring example of Netanyahu working against Israel's interests to benefit Milchan was his efforts (to) promote a free trade zone on the Israel-Jordan border, a project the Hollywood producer sought to promote as part of his partnership with Indian industrialist Ratan Naval Tata," Ynetnews had reported.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)