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Enforcement Directorate may record Praful Patel’s statement

The jet deal excluded Airbus commitments.

The jet deal excluded Airbus commitments.   | Photo Credit: V. Sudershan

The Enforcement Directorate is expected to record the statement of former Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel on Thursday in connection with alleged irregularities in the deals for purchase of 43 Airbus aircraft and sharing of profitable routes with international airlines.

The agency has already questioned several Air India officials.

“Statements of the then Civil Aviation Secretary and officials involved in processing and finalising the agreements have been recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act,” a senior ED official said.

Based on the findings so far, the agency will be posing questions to Mr. Patel. The directorate has zeroed in on certain commitments that were initially made, but not included in the purchase agreement. One such condition was for building training facilities, said the official.

The 2011 Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) report mentions that the EGoM (Empowered Group of Ministers) minutes for the aircraft acquisition from Airbus reflected the commitment that a training centre would be established by Airbus in India at an approximate investment of $75 million.

“Even though Airbus was not the leading company, it would assist the creation of MRO facilities in India in association with promoters. The estimated investment was of the order of $100 million,” the report said quoting government documents.

The report said unlike the other clauses in the agreement, there was no mention of a time-frame by which such facilities would be created.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 3:01:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/enforcement-directorate-may-record-praful-patels-statement/article27527233.ece

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