CBI to file FIR in Airbus-Indian Airlines deal

The agency has concluded its preliminary enquiry in the matter and sought the permission of the Civil Aviation Ministry to prosecute officials in the case, CBI sources said.

It had started probing the deal last year as it came to light that clauses which governed 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 in September said the commitments made by Airbus regarding creation of MRO and training facilities were "quite open-ended".

"In respect of the MRO, the wording 'facilitate creation of MRO facilities in India in association with the promoters' did not give any indication of a binding commitment. There was no mention anywhere that the training and MRO facilities would be exclusive for India Airlines use or would be meant for all users of Airbus aircraft (public and private) in India and nearby," the report had said.

The CAG had noted that Indian Airlines entered a joint Venture with EADS, parent company of Airbus, in 2008 but there was no tangible progress in that direction. It, however, said the training centres were started in Bangalore.

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