The CBI, which is probing alleged irregularities related to the Queen’s Baton Relay ahead of the Commonwealth Games, will get in touch with British authorities to decide on how to proceed against Ashish Patel, owner of the London-based AM Films and AM Cars & Vans.
CBI could press for Patel’s extradition to India as part of its probe into CWG organising committee (OC)’s awarding of two contracts to his firms for the relay.
Confirming this, a CBI source, told HT, “Ashish Patel had met our team in London twice this month. When confronted with the evidence we have against him, including details of a few suspicious monetary transactions, he had assured us full co-operation in divulging details on the deals with his two firms for the event, which OC officials were instrumental in favouring him.” The source added, “Patel had assured us he would record statement as a witness with the British authorities within 15 days of his meeting with CBI team, but has not done that till now.”
“We might seek his extradition to India since he is a vital link in the QBR deals’ money trail and the fact that we cannot arrest him in UK,” said the source. He added, “We will get in touch with the British authorities and decide the further course of action...”
OC’s former chief Suresh Kalmadi, arrested by the CBI in a CWG scam case, is in the agency’s scanner in the case.
The OC’s deal with AM Films in October 2009 was over the installation of three video screens near the Buckingham Palace, while it had awarded a contract to AM Cars & Vans for the provision of various logistics. The CBI suspects the two deals were concluded at allegedly exorbitant costs and without regular tendering process or prior approvals.
A CBI team, comprising additional director VK Gupta and DIG SK Palsania, had early this month “examined” Patel over OC’s award of the two contracts — worth around R4 crore — to his two firms.