Saturday, December 02, 2017

Air India Purchase Row: CBI Asks For 2 Yrs To Finish Probe, SC Gives 6 Months

The CBI was on Friday pulled up by the Supreme Court when it asked for two years to complete the probe into allegations of irregularities in purchase or hiring of 111 aircraft for Air India for a whopping Rs70,000 crore when Praful Patel was the civil aviation minister in the UPA regime and gave the agency only six months to finish the investigation.
 “It’s around one year since the last order of apex court on 5 January. This is sufficient time to complete the investigation. Can you give us any deadline how much time you need to complete the investigation. Investigation has to be completed in days and not years”, a bench of Justices A K Goel and U U Lalit told Additional Solicitor General P S Narasimha who appeared for the CBI. The bench reminded the ASG that the earlier deadline was June but that was not complied with.
The ASG said that CBI has already registered an FIR in the case and is investigating all aspects but since there are accused, who are residing abroad, letter rogatory needs to be sent. “Two years’ time should be given to complete the probe on all the aspects,” the ASG said. “Serious irregularities” have been alleged in purchase or hiring of 111 aircrafts. It had also asked the agency to look into the fresh allegations made by NGO CPIL that Patel made Air India to buy biometric system for a hefty sum of Rs1,000 crore. The Centre had earlier told the court that most of the allegations referred to in the petition are a result of adverse comments made by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (PAC).