NEW DELHI: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned former aviation minister Praful Patel on June 6 as part of its probe into a multi-crore aviation scam during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime. Patel will be questioned in connection with alleged irregularities in procurement of 111 aircraft (Airbus) worth about Rs 70,000 crore, leasing of planes and surrendering of profit-making routes and flight schedules by Air India to Gulf-based airlines during the UPA era.
The ED had earlier alleged that corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar was in touch with Patel while lobbying for foreign airlines. The agency also said that Talwar, now arrested, was a “dear friend” of Patel. ED sources said Patel needs to be put through revelations made by arrested Talwar and evidence unearthed by the agency in pursuit of this case.
The NCP leader said he will be happy to cooperate so that the agency understands the “complexities” of the aviation industry. The ED claimed in the charge sheet that Talwar, who is now in judicial custody, allegedly finalised various communications addressed to Patel on behalf of Emirates and Air Arabia. “There is evidence, including e-mail conversations, between Talwar and Patel,” the probe agency told the court.