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Updated: February 22, 2012 00:55 IST

Praful seeks probe into aircraft change

Special Correspondent
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Former Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel has sought an enquiry to clear the air over Air India issue. File photo
The Hindu Former Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel has sought an enquiry to clear the air over Air India issue. File photo

Even as controversy flies thick and fast over reports emanating from an RTI query alleging that some members of his family had travelled on the Bangalore-Male-Bangalore sector in 2010 in an Air India flight, which had been changed to a larger aircraft, Union Heavy Industries Minister Praful Patel on Tuesday urged Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh to conduct a thorough probe to ascertain all the facts.

In a letter to Mr. Singh, he referred to news reports on Tuesday and some on earlier occasions and requested him to “immediately order an enquiry and ascertain all the facts or probe the matter in any way you deem appropriate.”

“I am personally embarrassed and pained about the impression that is sought to be created that (a) the passengers travelled either on free tickets or were upgraded to business class, whereas they were actually fully paid business class passengers; (b) it was done at my behest; (c) Air India or any private Airlines has never done change of aircraft type ever before if they have more bookings or for commercial reasons,” Mr. Patel, the former Civil Aviation Minister said.

“I would be very obliged if you take this up at the earliest so as to clear the doubts and wrong impression which have emanated out of the RTI query and sensationalised media reports,” Mr. Patel said.

Asked about the controversy, Mr. Singh told reporters that Air India “should not have done this [changing the aircraft].”

According to file notings disclosed under RTI, Air India had deployed larger aircraft to apparently accommodate the family of Mr. Patel on their trip.

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A tainted and dirty minister should not spoil the nation or his party image. It is not fair to other honest and hardworking ministers who has done little for themselves but greater for nation and it's people. May be a lay man should see such people investigated both domestic and international and property confiscated until they are proven innocent on their links, kick backs and mis using tax payers money.

from:  N Sathya
Posted on: Feb 23, 2012 at 10:56 IST

Praful Patel is big business man as far as i know. He owns Ceejay House a very big commercial building in heart of Mumbai at Worli.
His income is not very surpirisng.

from:  Sachin Dolhare
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 12:11 IST

I have held for a long time the opinion that Air India is being kept alive (with huge infusions of government aid) only for the comfort and convenience of politicians for their numerous jaunts abroad. This PSU should have been privatized a long time ago. Such abuses would not he tolerated in a private enterprise.

from:  The Owl
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 00:21 IST

These are all the gimmiks of Mr.Patel.In another Incident,scheduled flight of Airindia,Has been cancelled and charted for air lifiting IPL player as per the instruction By Mr.Patel's Daughter.Praful should step down or PM should remove him for the misuse of the office and public Money.

from:  rejimon varghese
Posted on: Feb 21, 2012 at 22:38 IST

What about a probe to include moral responsibility of Praful Patel
under whose stewardship Air India was reduced to present pathetic
state? Court of Inquiry of Mangalore crash had very nasty things to
say about the airline managements. The Court of inquiry came down
with sledge hammer criticism almost pinning the crash on the top
management incompetency. With the Captain is dead, the management
continues to be merrily around with impunity undoubtedly due to the
ministerial protection definitely a quid pro quo agreement for the
corrupt favours.

from:  N.G. Krishnan
Posted on: Feb 21, 2012 at 21:24 IST

Mr.Praful Patel should resign and then ask for a probe! Having said that, it would be only foolish to expect that! After all we live in India!

from:  Jaya Prakash
Posted on: Feb 21, 2012 at 20:50 IST

This minister has shown different approach when question of
corruption is raised against him and seeking the probe. But all of us
know that how one can become the billionaire after taking the charge
of ministry. It is crystal clear that those seek probe who have done
this act very cautiously and know the consequences. This approach is
making over of image. Apart from this, he filed the return of income
before EC which showed that he earned 5 lacs per day in recession
period. How it is possible in suicide prone Vidarbha?

from:  Atul Warhekar
Posted on: Feb 21, 2012 at 20:10 IST

enquiry should be done but by whom, govt agency that are under the control of govt, you will come out clean

from:  ravindra biradar
Posted on: Feb 21, 2012 at 19:43 IST

This confidence and swiftness we see in politicians response in any controversy is just a reflection of the pathetic state of affair we are witnessing today!! This just shows how confident Netas are, that they can mould the whole system!! They can twist, distort and modify the facts.. they can pressurize the invetsigating agencies and can even intimidate the judiciary!!
Only If we have a powerful, honest and trasparent agency (My be lokpal) half of our esteemed Netas whould be behind Bars!!

from:  Rajeev Tewari
Posted on: Feb 21, 2012 at 19:34 IST

Mr. Minister how do you explain the losses incurred due to this Aircraft shifting?
Who is going to pay for the empty seats both ways? The normal decency would have
been to acknowledge the misuse of National Resources. And pay for the damages. If
similar incident would have happened in a western country, you would had to resign.
But then again, this is oligarchy.

from:  chandra
Posted on: Feb 21, 2012 at 19:27 IST

Even if the Deshpande's were fully paid Business class passengers, it is well known fact that Airlines always overbook. So, they will ONLY change the plane if they can fill seats in all classes, not just business class alone. The passengers would be accomodated in different flights or even on other airlines because it makes perfect business sense not to deploy a bigger plane and have 50 vacant seats. So, it is absolutely clear someone did it with the full knowledge that these passengers were Praful patel's family! They would never do it if you don't have that kind of connection.

from:  s m Kumar
Posted on: Feb 21, 2012 at 19:16 IST
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