Reacting to the Republic TV newsbreak on the Enforcement Directorate (ED) summoning the former Aviation minister and NCP leader Praful Patel in connection with the Aviation scam during the UPA government, BJP leader Dr. Subramanian Swamy, on Saturday has said that while Patel should be questioned first, the entire cabinet sub-committee of economic affairs then-headed by P Chidambaram should also be investigated in the scam.
"There was a payment done for these aircraft. Praful Patel alone is not in on it. The entire cabinet committee on economic affairs headed by Chidambaram is also in it. Praful Patel being Aviation minister has to take the blame first. Thereafter the entire cabinet subcommittee on economic affairs must be examined. They are all culpable. In an open and shut case, be it the Airbus price paid by Air India and the price paid by private Airlines which is much lower, it is easy to estimate what the extent of kickbacks was. Why should Air India pay a much higher price than private airlines?" asked Swamy
Establishing the kickbacks enjoyed by the then-UPA government which enabled foreign private airlines to gain Airbus planes at cheaper rates than Air India, Swamy also claimed that the deal was set up in the first deal to compensate the Sheikh of Abu Dhabi's loss in the 2G spectrum. He also claimed that this was the reason for Air India's decline accumulating loss.
"Private foreign airlines were benefitted. None of the Indian private airlines was benefitted. In fact, they were all protesting. Yes, I have got a Supreme Court case of Jet Etihad deal which was there to compensate for the fact that the Sheikh of Abu Dhabi lost lots of money due to my petition on the cancellation of the deal in the 2G spectrum licences. To compensate that loss, this rotten deal was worked out which enabled Etihad to fly from any part of India to UAE completely sucking out Air India's traffic. This made Air India go into the red since 2004," he added.
Earlier in the day, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had summoned former Minister of Civil Aviation Praful Patel in connection with the case against aviation lobbyist Deepak Talwar on June 6.
Republic Media Network has learnt that the senior NCP leader, Patel will be probed in the 212 crore kickbacks case and has already been named in the chargesheet filed by the ED in May against Deepak Talwar and his son Adityanath Talwar over negotiations favouring foreign private airlines including Qatar Airways, Emirates and Air Arabia during the UPA-era.
The allegation registered against them in the Aviation scam claims that private airlines were given preference by reducing the routes of Air India flights, thus causing losses to the national carrier.