Logistics

Air India aircraft buy: High Court notice to Centre, vigilance panel

Our Bureau New Delhi Oct. 12 | Updated on March 12, 2018

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The Delhi High Court has issued notice to the Centre, Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), the CBI and the Comptroller and Auditor General of India on a petition seeking the court's directions to the CVC to conduct a thorough inquiry into the aircraft acquisition deals of Air India and its “loss of market-share by giving up profitable routes.”

The petition, filed by an NGO, the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), also sought the court's directions to the CVC to look at the timings and the role played by Civil Aviation Ministry in the matter. CPIL is represented by advocate Mr Prashant Bhushan.

The High Court has asked respondents to file a reply to the CPIL's plea. The matter will be heard again on November 23.

The writ petition has been filed drawing attention to how the Ministry of Civil Aviation through its “deliberate and mala fide decisions and actions” drove the Air India and Indian Airlines into heavy losses to the tune of thousands of crores.

The petition alleges that the Government went in for a huge fleet expansion programme in which purchase orders for 111 aircraft were given.

“This unnecessary expansion was made without any proper study and without any transparency. The purchase orders of the aircraft were given costing a whopping Rs. 67,000 crore,” the petition states.

The petition alleges that through deliberate and mala fide decisions of the Government, major profit making routes and timings were given to one or two private airlines causing a huge loss of market share to the national carriers.

“Foreign airlines were given unrestricted entry into India and major routes were given to them without taking any reciprocal benefits for Air India,” the petition states.

The petition alleges that both the Parliamentary Committee on Transport as well as the Parliamentary Committee on Public Undertakings had squarely blamed the Civil Aviation Ministry for its deliberate, misdirected decisions and actions which drove the national carriers into huge losses and forced the Government to bail them out at huge cost to the national exchequer.

The petition also states that the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General has given its report on aircraft acquisition and the role of the Ministry.

Published on October 12, 2011

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