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Posted at: Feb 14, 2018, 1:36 AM; last updated: Feb 14, 2018, 1:36 AM (IST)

Choppergate: SC dismisses petition against C’garh CM

Says no prima facie proof to hold that Raman Singh’s son was beneficiary
Choppergate: SC dismisses petition against C’garh CM

Satya Prakash

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 13

Ahead of the November Assembly polls, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh got a shot in the arm on Tuesday as the Supreme Court dismissed a petition by an NGO seeking an independent probe into alleged irregularities in the 2006-07 purchase of an AgustaWestland chopper by his government.

“We do not find any ground to grant prayer as sought in the petitions,” a Bench headed by Justice AK Goel said, dismissing Swaraj Abhiyan’s PIL which had alleged that Raman Singh’s son Abhishek Singh was a beneficiary of the deal.

Swaraj Abhiyan is run by expelled AAP leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav. “There is no material to prima facie hold that beneficiary of transaction was Abhishek Singh. We do not consider it necessary to go into the allegation of mere procedural irregularities. We broadly find that no case is made out for interference by this court for issuing a direction as sought in absence of allegation of extraneous consideration being substantiated,” said the Bench, which also included Justice UU Lalit.

The petitioners have alleged that in July 2008, a bank account in the name of Abhishek Singh was opened in the British Virgin Islands, and on August 1, 2008, one of the firms purportedly involved in the deal wound up operations.

Swaraj Abhiyan had said a proposal of the state in December 2006 said helicopter firms should be invited to make their representations, but later, no company was called and a tender was issued only for one AgustaWestland chopper.

The apex court had on January 31 posed searching questions to the Chhattisgarh government on the purchase of an AgustaWestland helicopter for VIP use in 2006-07 and asked as to what was the “interest” of Chief Minister Raman Singh’s son, Abhishek Singh, in this.

The court had said it was only concerned as to whether any “fraud or hanky-panky” was committed in securing the deal, and made it clear that it was not questioning the choice of the helicopter.  The Supreme Court had in November 2017 asked  to produce files relating to its purchase of a chopper from Italian manufacturer.

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