Madras High Court admits proceedings against AAI for irregularities

The Madras High Court yesterday admitted a writ petition in the nature of a public interest litigation (PIL) wherein the petitioner has alleged serious fraud and illegality by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) in the award of contracts for ground-handling.
The court has taken a serious view of the fact that the AAI, in its counter, has failed to address certain allegations.

In the PIL, filed by one Oveyam Ranjan, the authority is alleged to have fraudulently awarded a contract to a consortium of two companies Bhadra International (India) Limited and Novia International Consulting APS.
The PIL goes on to accuse the civil aviation ministry and AAI of corruption and collusion in the matter of award of the contract.

The first bench comprising chief justice MY Eqbal and justice TS Sivagnanam, issued notice returnable in four weeks to respondents in the case which included the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Passing orders yesterday, the bench made a note of the fact that the AAI had filed a counter-affidavit, as per the court's directions before entertaining the writ petition, to meet the allegations made in the writ petition.

The bench noted that the petitioner had stated categorically in paragraph 13 of her affidavit that TDI International India Limited in connivance with the AAI had floated a new company to procure the contract.

The court has observed that prima facie the matter appeared to be of a serious nature and merited adjudication by the court.

Meanwhile, the Lok Sabha was informed today that airlines operating in the country owed a sum of Rs1,122 crore to Airports Authority of India.