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Praful Patel questioned for 8 hours in aviation scam, to face ED again

The ED said, the Rajya Sabha MP is expected to appear again on Tuesday as the questioning and recording of his statement has to continue

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

NCP MP Praful Patel during the winter session of Parliament, in New Delhi. (Photo: PTI)
NCP leader Praful Patel

Former civil aviation was questioned for about eight hours by the on Monday, in connection with a probe related to losses suffered by as part of an alleged multi-crore aviation scam, officials said.

Patel appeared before the agency around 10.30 am here and left shortly before 7 pm, they said.

The is expected to appear again on Tuesday as the questioning and recording of his statement has to continue, they said.

He is the first high-profile person who has deposed before the ED in this case.

The investigating of the case recorded his statement under the Prevention of Act (PMLA) and the former Union of the is understood to have "cooperated" with the agency.

The case emerges from a criminal complaint registered by the ED for alleged irregularities in fixing air slots for international airlines that purportedly led to losses for Air India, the carrier.

Patel, 62, has also been named in a recent chargesheet filed by the federal agency before a court, as a person known to alleged Talwar was arrested by the ED sometime back.

The leader, who was in-charge of the civil aviation ministry between 2004 and 2011, has not been mentioned as an accused in the case.

Sources had told that the ED had already questioned a number of people in the senior management of the and the aviation ministry.

The ED had said in the chargesheet that "the investigation so far from the accused and others reveal that is a dear friend of .. Talwar used to finalise the communication to be sent to Patel on behalf of entities such as Emirates, Aerospace Enterprises etc".

Patel is understood to have been quizzed about the statements and revelations made by Talwar, officials said.

He had earlier told the media that "he will be happy to cooperate with the ED for their understanding of the complexities of the aviation sector".

The ED chargesheet in the case named Talwar and claimed he was in regular touch with Patel.

It has alleged that Talwar finalised various communications addressed to Patel on behalf of and

Talwar obtained undue favours for the private airlines using his contacts, according to the chargesheet.

The agency has also alleged that Talwar was engaged in lobbying with politicians, ministers, public servants and officials in the civil aviation ministry for Emirates, and in order to secure undue benefits for these airlines.

"He (Talwar) illegally managed to secure favourable traffic rights for these airlines during 2008-09 at the cost of the carrier Air India," the ED has claimed.

It has also been alleged that in lieu of securing favourable traffic rights, these airlines made payments to the tune of Rs 272 crore to Talwar during 2008-09.

"He created a web of his own entities and used the companies of his son, Aditya Talwar, in and international offshore havens to launder Rs 272 crore received from foreign airlines.

"Part of these payments were made to a in the Bank of Singapore, belonging to a company called Asiafield Limited, registered in the and beneficially owned by Deepak Talwar," the agency has said in the chargesheet.

Talwar was arrested by the ED early this year after he was deported from

First Published: Mon, June 10 2019. 20:55 IST