These ED cases are based on four FIRs filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation, sources said.
New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has registered cases to probe allegations of irregularities and money laundering in at least four deals signed during the UPA rule pertaining to the controversial merger of Air India and Indian Airlines.
The central probe agency has registered four cases under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, of which two relate to the controversial merger of Air India and Indi-an Airlines and alleged irregularities in the purchase and leasing of aircraft by the two state-run carriers under the UPA government that allegedly caused huge losses to the exchequer.
The other two cases are related to the surrender of profitable routes and timings of Air India to favour national and international private players that, again, allegedly caused a huge loss to the state-run carrier, and wrongdoing in the purchase of software for the airline. These ED cases are based on four FIRs filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation, sources said.
The ED, sources said, has obtained almost all the relevant documents from the airlines and other departments in connection with these cases which have been termed politically sensitive. Sources further said the ED will probe a specific angle to ascertain if the alleged irregularities led to the generation of black money and if it was laundered to create illegal assets by the accused. The agency will soon issue summons to a few officials and others involved for questioning.
Last year the CBI had registered cases against unidentified officials of Air India, ministry of civil aviation and others on charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating and corruption. While registering the cases, the CBI had said that these instances relate to decisions, taken by the ministry during the UPA’s tenure, which caused huge losses to the exchequer.
The allegations relate to the purchase of 111 aircraft, costing about Rs 70,000 crore, for national airlines to benefit foreign aircraft manufacturers. “Such a purchase caused an alleged financial loss to the already stressed national carriers,” the CBI has alleged. The CAG had in 2011 questioned the rationale behind the government’s decision to order 111 aircraft — 48 from Airbus and 68 from Boeing — for AI and Indian Airlines in 2006.