New Delhi, June 6 (IANS) Former Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel on Thursday skipped an Enforcement Directorate (ED) summons and sought fresh dates in connection with a probe into the irregular seat-sharing on Air India’s profitable routes.
The case allegedly involved corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar.
On June 1, the ED had asked Patel to appear before it on June 6 for questioning under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
However, Patel, citing prior commitments, expressed his inability to appear before the probe team, an ED source said.
The ED has already questioned several Air India officials.
It has recorded the statements of then Civil Aviation Secretary and officials involved in processing and finalising the agreements.
Patel was the Civil Aviation Minister in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government when the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines took place. He has denied any wrongdoing in the case.
Talwar, currently in judicial custody, was extradited to India from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in January for his suspected role in the case.
The ED is probing the Air India-Indian Airlines merger, purchase of 111 aircraft from Boeing and Airbus at Rs 70,000 crore, ceding of profitable routes and schedules to private airlines and opening of training institutes with foreign investment.
It is also investigating how the money received in Talwar’s accounts were transferred to government employees, including those in the Civil Aviation Ministry.