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ED questions NCP leader Praful Patel in aviation case

The questioning went on for about eight-and-a-half hours that included a lunch break, which mainly revolved around granting air traffic rights to foreign carriers, people familiar of the development said on condition of anonymity.

india Updated: Jun 10, 2019 23:48 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
ED,Praful Patel,NCP leader
Former civil aviation minister and NCP leader Praful Patel Monday appeared before the ED in connection with a money laundering probe related to losses suffered by Air India as part of an alleged multi-crore aviation scam. (Raajessh Kashyap/Hindustan Times )

Former civil aviation minister and Nationalist Congress Party leader Praful Patel appeared before the Enforcement Directorate on Monday in connection with an ongoing money-laundering probe against lobbyist Deepak Talwar who had allegedly secured favourable air traffic rights for foreign airlines in collusion with some government officials during Patel’s tenure as aviation minister.

The questioning went on for about eight-and-a-half hours that included a lunch break, which mainly revolved around granting air traffic rights to foreign carriers, people familiar of the development said on condition of anonymity.

Patel has been asked to come to ED’s office again on Tuesday to explain purchase of aircraft from Airbus, they said. The procurement of 43 Airbus aircraft during Patel’s tenure is also being probed, they said.

Patel reached ED’s office around 10 am, accompanied by his lawyer Vijay Aggarwal’s legal team and left around 6.30 pm. Patel was in-charge of the civil aviation ministry between 2004 and 2011 during the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime.

Aggarwal declined to comment on this matter. He is the same lawyer who defended a some of the accused in the 2G spectrum allocation case and also defended fugitive businessman Nirav Modi, an accused in the ~13,500 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud.

Patel has been questioned in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) case because he was named in a charge sheet filed by the ED as a person known to Talwar, who had fled the country in 2017. Talwar, who was later deported from Dubai on January 31 this year, and was subsequently arrested, is currently in the custody of the ED.

First Published: Jun 10, 2019 11:36 IST