CBI to examine Airbus EVP Kiran Rao in London
CBI will send a team of its officials to London to examine executive vice-president of Airbus Kiran Rao in connection with its probe into alleged irregularities in over Rs 8,000-crore deal for supplying 43 aircraft to the erstwhile carrier Indian Airlines in 2005.
Highly-placed sources said here on Thursday that the agency will be sending its officials to examine Rao in connection with the case as some clarifications are needed on alleged non-fulfillment of conditions given in the supply contract. ‘Airbus is cooperating with the investigation and cannot say more at this time,’ Justin Dubon, head of Global News at Airbus, said. The sources said that after nearly a year-long long probe, CBI has felt the need to examine senior executives of Airbus about some crucial points which have surfaced during the investigation in the case in which senior officials of the erstwhile Indian Airlines are also made accused along with Airbus. The CBI had registered a case against French company Airbus Industries and seven officials who held senior positions in Indian Airlines which was later merged with Air India.
The sources said the then officials, including Deputy Managing Director, Director (planning), Director (finance), Functional Director (engineering), General Manager (engineering) and two Deputy General Managers one of whom is now posted in the vigilance wing, are accused in the case.
At the time of filing of FIR, Airbus had denied any wrongdoing and refuted allegations.
The agency had concluded its preliminary enquiry in the matter in 2012 and sought the permission of the civil aviation ministry to prosecute the officials in the case which was given only in 2013, CBI sources said.
After getting the permission from the ministry, the agency registerd the case in this regard in March, 2013, they said. CBI had started probing the deal two years ago as it came to light that clauses which governed the setting up of an MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) unit, training centre and a warehouse, worth USD 17.5 crore, by Airbus were allegedly diluted by some officials.
The deal was finalised in September 2005 when an Empowered Group of Ministers had given its nod after Airbus agreed to set-up the facilities along with the supply of 43 aircraft.
The Comptroller and Auditor General in its report had said the commitments made by Airbus regarding creation of MRO and training facilities were ‘quite open-ended’.