CBI closes corruption case against NCP’s Praful Patel months after he joined NDA | Latest News India


The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has closed a corruption case involving Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Praful Patel, almost eight months after he joined the rival BJP-led National Democratic Alliance following a vertical split in the party.

NCP candidate Praful Patel on the last day of filing the nomination for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections, outside the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly in Mumbai, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024.(PTI)
NCP candidate Praful Patel on the last day of filing the nomination for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections, outside the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly in Mumbai, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024.(PTI)

The CBI filed the closure report in its probe into the alleged irregularities in the leasing of aircraft by National Aviation Corporation of India Ltd. (NACIL) – formed after the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines – as there was no “evidence of any wrongdoing,” reported PTI quoting officials.

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The case involves alleged irregularities in the leasing of aircraft by the National Aviation Corporation of India Ltd. (NACIL), which was formed after the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines during the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) era. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was tasked with investigating these allegations, following orders from the Supreme Court in 2017.

The CBI registered a case after a public interest litigation alleged that public servants made leases of 15 expensive aircraft for which they did not even have pilots ready.

The FIR alleged that the decision to lease a large number of aircraft was made despite Air India experiencing low passenger loads and significant losses. It accused individuals involved of acting dishonestly and in conspiracy with unknown parties, resulting in financial gains for private companies and losses to the government exchequer.

“Air India, to benefit private parties, dry leased four Boeing 777s for a period of five years in 2006, whereas it was to get the delivery of its own aircraft from July, 2007 onwards. As a result, five Boeing 777s and five Boeing 737s were kept idle on the ground at an estimated loss of 840 crores during the period of 2007-09,” the FIR had alleged.

The special judge, Prashant Kumar, recently issued a notice to the investigating officer and fixed the matter for April 15, 2024. The court will decide whether to accept the closure report or direct the agency to probe further on the points the court may raise.

(With inputs from agencies)



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