Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Master aviation minister, driver director of airline industry firm

Is it a proverbial rags to riches story, or a link in an elaborate benami operation? Times Now is in possession of documents which prove that the driver of UPA minister Praful Patel was the director of a company which was extending manpower and cargo handling services to airlines. All this while his boss was the Union civil aviation minister. GVG Services Pvt Ltd was established in 2010 and, as per returns filed in 2013, had a share capital of Rs 5 crore and only two directors — Vinod Singh and Ravi Singh.
As per sworn affidavits accessed by Times Now, both the directors have listed their official address as 26, Gurudwara Rakabganj Road, New Delhi. But, here is a twist in the tale: the address is the official residence of Praful Patel, former aviation minister and senior NCP member.
A visit to the company's headquarters in Mahipalpur — a suburb near the international airport in Delhi —revealed that the officials of the company were reluctant to name the proprietors.
At the end of a long conversation with general manager, GV Services, Karan Raina, Times Now got a confirmation on camera. When shown the picture of Vinod Singh, Patel's driver, the top company executive said, "This is Vinod Singh, the managing director of our company. He doesn't come here often, though." The company, which services several national airports and a leading national airline, continued to have its registered address as 26, Gurudwara Rakabganj Road, New Delhi, the official residence of Union civil aviation minister, even after Patel had demitted office in 2011.
Times Now confronted Patel about the possibility of a conflict of interest. He didn't deny that Vinod Singh was his driver for decades, but said he wasn't aware that he had floated a company and bagged contracts running into lakhs of rupees at various airports across the country.
19/07/17 Times of India