The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to the Centre and Air India (AI) on a petition seeking a probe into the alleged irregularities in recent purchase of aircraft and surrendering profitable routes to private carriers.
A bench of Justice HL Dattu and Justice CK Prasad
sought a response on an appeal filed by NGO Centre for Public Interest and Litigation (CPIL) represented by activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan .
The CPIL in its petition has demanded either probe by the CBI or by a SC-appointed special investigation team (SIT).
The CPIL has assailed several of the government's decisions, including the "massive" purchase of 111 aircraft for the national airlines costing about Rs. 70,000 crores, taking a large number of planes on lease, giving up profit-making routes and timings in favour of private airlines and the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines (IA).
AI's losses since the merger in 2007 stood at Rs. 28,045.92 crore. Its outstanding debt, including short-term working capital loans, stood at more than Rs. 44,000 crore.
In April, the government had announced a cash-booster of Rs. 30,000 crore that will be infused into the airline spread over a eight-year period.