Finish probe into purchase of planes for AI within 6 months: SC to CBI

Finish probe into purchase of planes for AI within 6 months: SC to CBI

The Supreme Court on Friday told the CBI to finish its probe within six months into the procurement of 111 aircraft  worth Rs 70,000 crore to Air India in 2005-06 during the tenure of then minister and NCP leader Praful Patel.

A bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and U U Lalit refused to accede to a plea by Additional Solicitor General P S Narasimha for two years time for the purpose.

"It's around one year since the last order of apex court on January 5. This is sufficient time to complete the investigation. You complete the probe in next six months. Investigation  has to be completed in days not years," the court told the law officer, who contended that some of the accused resided abroad and letters rogatory have to be sent as part of the probe.

 

The court reminded him on January 5 six months time was given to the CBI to complete the probe.

A PIL filed by Central of Public Interest Litigation through advocate Prashant Bhushan had  claimed that the decision to purchase 111 aircraft for the national airlines which cost about Rs 70,000 crore, taking a large number of planes on lease, giving up profit-making routes and timings in favour of private airlines and the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines "ruined the national carriers".

 

 

It further  claimed that the then minister made Air India buy a biometric system for a hefty sum of Rs 1,000 crore.

Relying upon a CAG report, the petitioner contended the decisions of the then civil aviation minister cost the national exchequer tens of thousands of crores and that the "only beneficiaries of the above decisions were foreign aircraft manufacturers, private and foreign airlines".

 

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