ED grills Praful again, he remains ‘evasive’
New Delhi: Former Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel was grilled on Tuesday for second consecutive day in connection sharing of Air India’s profitable routes with international airlines. He was questioned for eight hours and has been asked to join investigation on Wednesday also.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is recording Patel’s statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act at the agency’s headquarters here in the multi-crore airline seat sharing scam.
“He has remained evasive during questioning. We have called him again,” said a top ED officer adding there are “circumstantial evidences of his role”. The ED stated they are verifying details.
The agency has claimed that many decisions were taken during his tenure as civil aviation minister to benefit private airlines. “We have witnesses’ statements and are verifying it,” the officer stated
Patel was questioned about the reasons for sharing of Air India’s profitable routes with three international airlines, Emirates, Air Arabia & Qatar.
The agency has accused lobbyist Deepak Talwar of receiving about Rs 272 crore from the airlines for the job. The agency alleged that Talwar
was in regular touch with Patel. The agency claimed that Talwar allegedly finalised various communications addressed to Patel on behalf of Emirates and Air Arabia. “There is evidence including e-mail conversations between Deepak and Patel,” stated ED adding Talwar also obtained undue favours for the private airlines using his contacts.
Praful Patel at the ED office