The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to conduct a probe into the purchase of 111 aircrafts purchased under the UPA government. During the hearing the Bench expressed hope that the CBI would adhere to the timeline and conclude the probe by June 2017. The petitioner alleged that there were irregularities in the purchase of 111 aircrafts for Air India that had cost around Rs 70,000 crore. The purchase was made when Praful Patel was the Civil Aviation Minister, the petitioner also alleged.
The SC also directed the CBI to look into the allegations that Patel made Air India buy bio-metric systems irregularly for a sum of Rs 1,000 crore.
The petition also quoted Jitender Bhargava, a former director of Air India who had also written a book on the “downfall” of the carrier. The plea also alleged that various decisions taken during the tenure of Patel were meant to benefit private airlines and had caused huge loss to Air India. The NGO had referred to several of Patel’s decisions, including the “massive” purchase of 111 aircraft for national airlines costing about Rs 70,000 crores, taking a large number of planes on lease, giving up profit-making routes and timings in favour of private airlines and the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines.