CBI files charge sheet against Deepak Talwar
According to the CBI, Deepak Talwar conspired and lobbied with his aides to facilitate bilateral arrangements in favour of foreign airlines for enhancement of seat entitlements which caused a loss to Air India and Indian Airlines.Updated: Sep 24, 2019 02:16 IST
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday filed a charge sheet against lobbyist Deepak Talwar and his associates for criminal conspiracy and corruption act alleging that he influenced the civil aviation ministry officials to illegally secure favourable bilateral agreements and arrangements (or flying rights) for foreign airlines at the cost of national carrier, Air India.
The agency, however, didn’t name any government official as an accused in its charge sheet.
Besides Talwar, CBI has named his close aide Yasmeen Kapoor, Maya B Puri and companies, Stone Travel Private Limited, Cedar Travels, Deepak Talwar & Associates and Asia Field Limited in the charge sheet filed before the court of special judge Anil Kumar Sisodia in Delhi.
A CBI spokesperson said those named have been charged under section 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating) and section 8 of the prevention of corruption act (which deals with illegal gratification to influence a public servant).
“Talwar conspired and lobbied with his aides to facilitate bilateral arrangements in favour of foreign airlines for enhancement of seat entitlements which caused a loss to Air India and Indian Airlines,” said a CBI officer, on condition of anonymity, quoting the charge sheet.
Talwar’s lawyer Tanveer Ahmed Mir lashed out at the investigating agencies saying, “What kind of corruption case is this where the bribe givers or bribe takers, if any, have not been arrested or even questioned but a person who purportedly facilitated the agreement (s) has been charged?.”
He added that Talwars was not a signatory to any agreement.
Talwar was deported from Dubai in January this year after which he was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate while CBI took his custody on July 26. He is currently in judicial custody.
He is being investigated in three cases related to aviation and a case related to violation of FCRA (foreign contribution registration act), in relation to which Yasmeen Kapoor was arrested earlier this month.
The CBI earlier told the court that it is yet to ascertain the names of officials of the ministry of civil aviation, National Aviation Company of India Ltd and Air India, who favoured the foreign airlines. It said these officials, in conspiracy with other public servants, private domestic and foreign airlines, made Air India give up profitable routes and timings in favour of private Indian and foreign airlines. This resulted in a huge loss of market share to the national carrier and led to pecuniary benefits to private domestic and foreign airlines, CBI had stated.
The case dates back to 2017.
In its money laundering probe, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has alleged that Talwar received money from Qatar Airways, Emirates and Air Arabia.
The ED said in a statement in May, “In lieu of securing favourable traffic rights, these (foreign) airlines made payments to the tune of Rs 272 crores to Deepak Talwar during 2008-09. He created a web of his own entities and used companies of his son Aditya Talwar, in India and international offshore havens, to launder amount of Rs 272 crores received from foreign airlines. Part of these payments were made to a bank account in Bank of Singapore belonging to a company M/s Asiafield Limited, registered in the British Virgin Islands and beneficially owned by Deepak Talwar.”