NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court today agreed to hear an application seeking direction to CBI to register a case on "alleged bungling" in the leasing of around 5000 acres of prime land of Delhi airport to private companies for modernisation.
A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath initially refused to entertain the fresh application seeking revival of the case, which was disposed of in July 2006, since the matter relating to the award of the contract in question was agitated before the Supreme Court. The court, however, listed it for hearing on July 14 after it was informed that by a July 20, 2006 order of this court the parties were granted liberty to revive this matter once the matter pending before the apex court was disposed of.
The petitioner Rashtriya Mukti Morcha (RMM) now through the fresh application, has sought direction to CBI to register a regular case against former Minister of Civil Aviation Praful Patel and officials of Airport Authority of India (AAI) and the GMR-led Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL). RMM through its counsel Vijay Choudhary alleged that AAI and Civil Aviation Ministry initially leased out 4,608.9 acres of airport land to DIAL at a highly concessional rate of Rs 100 per annum.
"However, AAI has leased out 7.60 acres of similar land to Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and Bureau of Civil Aviation (Security) at an annual lease of Rs 2.41 crore," the petitioner said. It further alleged that there was large scale "corruption" involved in the process of modernisation of the airports at Delhi and Mumbai.
It said it sensed foul play as annual lease rent was fixed at "a minimal amount of Rs 100 per annum for the Delhi Airport comprising an area of 5106 acres in New Delhi along with number of buildings, machinery, equipment valued at Rs 1.31 lakh crore."
"The total loss to the public exchequer amounts to tune of Rs 1,31,105 crores upto the extended period of 60 years," it said. "The act on the part of the then Minister and officials of the Ministry of Civil Aviation along with officials of the AAI smacks of criminal conspiracy to favour the DIAL and its management causing wrongful loss to the government and wrongful gain to DIAL/GMR/ JVC etc. and for this purpose the accused persons are liable to be prosecuted under section 13 (1)(d) of the prevention of Corruption Act read with Section 120-B of IPC," the plea added.