Saturday, October 20, 2018

ED puts lens on Air India-Indian Airlines merger, plane purchase during UPA

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate has started investigating money laundering charges in the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines and the purchase of 111 aircraft from Boeing and Airbus during the UPA government’s tenure.

The Rs 70,000 crore purchase of aircraft from Boeing and Airbus is being probed by the CBI, which had registered a case in May last year after the Supreme Court directed the agency to investigate the charges alleged in a PIL.

The national carrier went into a massive debt trap following the deal and by withdrawing from profitable routes, benefiting some of Indian and international airlines. In a subsequent audit report, the Comptroller and Auditor General too questioned the rationale of the national carrier ordering 111 aircraft when it was not required.
Before UPA came to power, the national carrier had proposed to purchase 43 aircraft. However, the order was revised on the assumption of change in market situation. The ED has registered multiple cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act to probe all issues, including merger of Air India and Indian Airlines, purchase of aircraft, surrendering of profitable routes and purchase of software for over Rs 200 crore.
20/10/18 Times of India

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