AI plane purchase: SC asks CBI to complete probe in 6 months
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday directed the CBI to complete in the next six months its probe into allegations of irregularities in purchase or hiring of 111 aircraft for Air India for a whopping Rs 70,000 crore when Praful Patel was the civil aviation minister.
The top court refused to accept a plea of the CBI seeking time to complete its probe saying "the investigation has to be completed in days, not in years".
A bench of justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and U U Lalit said that the apex court had earlier asked the CBI to complete its investigation in June, but it failed to do so.
"It's around one year since the last order of apex court on January 5. This is sufficient time to complete the investigation. Can you give us any deadline how much time you need to complete the investigation," the bench asked Additional Solicitor General P S Narasimha appearing for the CBI.
The ASG said that CBI has already registered an FIR in the case and is investigating all aspects but since there are accused, who are residing abroad, letter rogatory needs to be sent.
"Two years time should be given to complete the probe on all the aspects," the ASG said.
To this, the bench said, "No, it cannot be done, you complete the probe in next six months. Investigations have to be completed in days not years."
The top court had on January 5, asked the CBI to complete its probe by June into the allegations of "serious irregularities" in purchase or hiring of 111 aircrafts.
It had also asked the agency to look into the fresh allegations made by NGO CPIL that Patel made Air India buy a biometric system for a hefty sum of Rs 1,000 crore.
The Centre had earlier told the court that most of the allegations referred to in the petition are a result of adverse comments made by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (PAC).