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Delhi court issues NBW against ex-official of Airbus Industrie in aircraft purchase case


Press Trust of India New Delhi
A Delhi court Friday issued open-ended non-bailable warrant (NBW) against former senior official of Airbus Industrie, a French company, in a money laundering case related to the purchase of 43 aircraft by erstwhile Indian Airlines in 2005.
The case relates to negotiations allegedly favouring the foreign private airline which caused losses to IA, which has since merged with national carrier Air India.
ED told Special Judge Santosh Snehi Mann that British-national Kiran Rao, then Senior VP (Pricing and Marketing), Airbus Industrie, avoided summons "deliberately and knowingly" and did not appear for investigation.
Thus, it added, Rao has been "non-cooperative, affecting the probe".
Special Public Prosecutor Nitesh Rana, appearing for ED, told the court that the purchase of 43 aircraft from Airbus Industrie by Indian Airlines was negotiated by Empowered Group of Ministers on September 6, 2005 with Rao and others on behalf of Airbus Industrie.
He said Rao was making excuses to avoid the investigation and making himself available in India for the purpose of investigation of a criminal case.
An open-ended NBW does not carry a time limit for its execution.
The court had earlier allowed ED to question lobbyist Deepak Talwar in the case. He is already in Tihar jail in relation to another money laundering case.
ED's advocate A R Aditya said the case was filed against Indian Airlines officials and other unknown persons, alleging that the officials in conspiracy with Airbus Industrie, caused "undue pecuniary advantage" to the French firm as also "corresponding undue loss to the government exchequer in carrying out the purchase of 43 aircraft".
ED further said: "The cabinet committee on economic affairs/ empowered group of ministers had approved the purchase...and the purchase price per aircraft was fixed with the condition that Airbus will establish training and MRO Centre worth USD 175 million (around Rs 1,000 crore).
"However, purchase order was placed for supply of 43 aircraft by fraudulently deleting the said condition. Deletion of those conditions for establishing MRO and training centre resulted in undue benefit of Rs 1,000 crore to Airbus which should have been reduced from agreed purchase price of aircraft fixed by the government of India."

In another case, the ED alleged that Talwar acted as a middleman in negotiations to favour foreign private airlines causing loss to national carrier Air India.
Talwar was picked up by Dubai authorities in January deported to India.

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First Published: May 31 2019 | 6:20 PM IST

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