Saturday, January 07, 2017

Panel headed by P Chidambaram OKed 68-plane deal with Boeing

A group of ministers headed by then finance minister P Chidambaram had finalised the contract with Boeing for purchase of 68 aircraft for Air India in December 2005, contrary to repeated allegations about sole involvement of then civil aviation minister Praful Patel in the Rs 70,000 crore deal.
On Thursday, the SC set a deadline for CBI to complete investigations into the purchase of aircraft by Air India during UPA-I government by June after taking into consideration the allegations made in the petition filed by NGO 'Centre for Public Interest Litigation'.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA)'s December 15, 2005 decision to constitute an EGOM was given effect to by the cabinet secretary on December 20, 2005. The EGOM was "under the chairmanship of P Chidamabaram, finance minister, consisting of H R Bharadwaj, minister for law and justice; Oscar Fernandes, minister for statistics and programme implementation and Praful Patel, minister for civil aviation as members".
CCEA had authorised the EGOM "to hold one final round of negotiations with the lowest bidders to finalise the transaction". The EGOM held discussions with representatives of Boeing and GE on December 24, 2005 in a meeting also attended by then cabinet secretary, expenditure secretary and civil aviation secretary.
"At these meetings representatives of Boeing confirmed that they were representing CFM International in respect of B737-800W aircraft and GE in respect of B777-2--LR and B777-300ER aircraft. Therefore, discussions with GE were held only in respect of B787-9 aircraft," said the note sent by Chidambaram to then PM.
07/01/17 Dhananjay Mahapatra/The Times Of India