Credibility at stake: CBI closure report in aviation case raises eyebrows - The Tribune India

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Credibility at stake

CBI closure report in aviation case raises eyebrows

Credibility at stake

Praful Patel. File photo



GIVING the clean chit to former Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, the CBI has filed a closure report in its probe into alleged irregularities in the leasing of aircraft by the National Aviation Corporation of India Limited, which was formed by the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines during the UPA’s corruption-stained rule. The timing of the development is significant — Patel, a leader of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP, Ajit Pawar faction), had switched over to the BJP-led NDA’s camp barely eight months ago. Ajit Pawar’s NCP is part of Maharashtra’s ruling alliance, which also includes Chief Minister Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena and the BJP.

According to the probe agency, there was no ‘evidence of any wrongdoing’, even though the FIR had alleged that the leasing decision had resulted in ‘pecuniary benefit’ to private companies and consequent loss to the government exchequer. The closure report, submitted ahead of the General Election, has lent credence to the Opposition’s allegation that premier investigating agencies go soft on tainted leaders or let them off after they join hands with the ruling dispensation at the Centre. The Opposition has attempted to link several defections in recent months to coercive tactics by the government.

Against this backdrop, there is a need to thoroughly probe Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s allegation that P Sarath Reddy, who turned approver in the liquor policy case in 2023, gave over Rs 50 crore to the BJP through electoral bonds after he was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in November 2022. The contentious bond scheme, scrapped recently by the Supreme Court, has laid bare a sordid trend of controversial businessmen buying peace. At stake is the credibility of the CBI, the ED and other agencies, which must try to dispel the notion that their action/inaction is politically motivated.

#Air India #Central Bureau of Investigation CBI


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