- Praful Patel is summoned by probe agency ED over alleged scam
- The alleged scam took place during the UPA government's rule
- Mr Patel was the civil aviation minister at the time
Praful Patel, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader, has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate in an alleged aviation scam, involving cash-strapped Air India, that took place during the Congress-led UPA government's rule between 2008-09. Mr Patel, who was the civil aviation minister at the time, has said he would cooperate with the probe agency.
"I will be happy to cooperate with the Enforcement Directorate to help them understand the complexities of aviation sector," Mr Patel was quoted by news agency ANI as saying.
The Enforcement Directorate is probing the role of aviation lobbyist Deepak Talwar in facilitating dispersal of profit making Air India routes to private airlines during 2008-09.
The agency has filed a charge sheet against Talwar in the case, alleging that he received over Rs 272 crores from three foreign airlines in lieu of securing favourable traffic rights, with Mr Patel's help. The charge sheet states that Talwar was in regular touch with the minister.
The agency has also claimed in the charge sheet that Talwar, who has been arrested, allegedly finalised various communications addressed to Mr Patel on behalf of Emirates and Air Arabia.
Deepak Talwar has been charged with criminal conspiracy, forgery and under various other sections of the FCRA for allegedly diverting Rs 90.72 crore worth of foreign funds meant for ambulances and other articles received by his NGO from Europe's leading missile manufacturing company.
Mr Patel, a member of the Rajya Sabha, has been asked to appear before the investigating officer of the case on June 6.
This is the first major action against a political leader in the alleged aviation scam.
With inputs from agencies