Monday, February 11, 2019

Foreign airlines paid Rs 270 crore to lobbyist Deepak Talwar

New Delhi: Intense questioning of recently extradited lobbyist Deepak Talwar by the Enforcement Directorate in relation to alleged payoffs of more than Rs 270 crore deposited in Bank of Singapore by international airlines, besides Rs 88 crore received in his NGO, has put the focus on links between some top ministers and bureaucrats in the previous UPA regime and Talwar.
The corporate lobbyist, known for his access in civil aviation circles, is being questioned by ED to further establish the money trail where it is suspected that Rs 90 crore was withdrawn from bank accounts of Talwar-controlled entities and distributed to politicians and officials who could have had a role in tweaking of rules to benefit certain foreign aircraft manufacturers and airlines.

Talwar was deported from Dubai on January 31 and brought back on a Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) aircraft and has been since remanded to ED custody till February 12 by a Delhi court in a money laundering case registered against him in 2017 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

As per sources, the ED has received details of at least $55 million deposited between 2008 and 2012 in Bank of Singapore in accounts of companies allegedly "owned and controlled" by Talwar. Four major international airlines and aircraft manufacturer Airbus, which had allegedly transferred millions of dollars, have been named by the agency in the remand note moved while seeking custody of Talwar. The airlines are Emirates, Air Asia, Air Arabia and Qatar Airways.
The ED's investigation over the last two years found that Talwar had received alleged kickbacks of over Rs 270 crore from foreign airlines and aircraft manufacturer Airbus for illegally benefiting them by using his contacts with the then civil aviation ministry in withdrawing Air India's services from some lucrative and profit earning routes.
11/02/19 Pradeep Thakur/Times of India
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