The Supreme Court on Friday granted four weeks to the Union government and others to file their response to a petition filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy challenging the Etihad Airways-Jet Airways deal approved by the government.
A Bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justices Ranjana Desai and Ranjan Gogoi heard brief submissions from Dr. Swamy, Solicitor-General Mohan Parasaran and senior counsel Harish Salve for Jet Airways. It scheduled further hearing on January 7, 2014 and asked the parties to file their response and the Centre to file its reply to Dr. Swamy’s application for interim relief.
Dr. Swamy alleged in the petition that there was a grant of largesse of a national asset to a foreign airline (Etihad Airways), giving it undue enrichment at the cost of the public, national and domestic airlines as well as airports.
He said, “To facilitate the execution of this colossal fraud on the Indian exchequer, the foreign airline [Etihad Airways] has agreed to guarantee personal loans as well as a premium towards its foreign investment in a domestic airlines — Jet Airways. Such grant of largesse is in the form of an unprecedented increase in capacity entitlements through execution of bilateral/MoU in favour of Abu Dhabi under the existing Air Service Agreement between the Government of India and UAE.”
The petitioner said: “The negotiations, meetings and discussions on the bilateral/MoU through which the Government of India granted largesse of increase in capacity entitlement up to 50,000 seats a week from the existing 13,330 seats a week in favour of Etihad Airways were undertaken in Abu Dhabi.”