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Praful Patel ‘irregularities’ under Apex Court scanner

Praful Patel ‘irregularities’ under Apex Court scanner
There’s trouble brewing for former Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel. The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the CBI to apprise it of the status of its probe, if any, into alleged irregularities in the purchase or hiring of 111 aircraft for Air India that had cost about Rs 70,000 crore to it during Patel’s tenure.

A three-judge Bench, comprising Chief Justice HL Dattu and justices RK Agrawal and Arun Mishra, gave two weeks’ time to the CBI for filing a fresh status report in the case.

The court’s direction came when lawyer Prashant Bhushan, appearing for NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), referred to a response received under RTI, of the Civil Aviation Ministry that it cannot part with information on the purchase of aircraft as the CBI was looking into it.
He said Jitender Bhargava, a former director of Air India who had also written a book on the “downfall” of the carrier, had sought details on the acquisition of aircraft and was told that the information cannot be parted with owing to a CBI probe.

The NGO had earlier moved the Apex Court against the government and Air India, seeking a CBI/SIT probe into alleged irregularities, including purchase of aircraft, and giving up of profit-making routes allegedly to private airlines during the UPA rule. During the hearing on Wednesday, the court considered the submissions of Bhushan and asked the CBI to file a report within two weeks, after the agency sought four weeks time.

The court, in September 2012, had issued notice to the government and Air India on the plea of CPIL seeking a CBI/SIT probe into the alleged irregularities. The plea had alleged that various decisions taken during the tenure of Patel were meant to benefit private airlines and had caused huge loss to Air India.
M Post Bureau

M Post Bureau

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