Delhi HC turns down plea for CBI probe into AI aircraft purchase

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court yesterday turned down a plea seeking an investigation into alleged irregularities in purchase of 111 planes by Air India during the tenure of Praful Patel, former minister of civil aviation in the first UPA government, by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

A bench headed by acting chief justice AK Sikri dismissed the petition saying it was premature as the Comptroller and Auditor General of India's (CAG) report on the ministry's performance audit is already before the Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC).

The CAG audit dubbed the deal as "a recipe for disaster".

"This (CAG) report was placed before PAC which is looking into it, so much so that the respondent number seven (Praful Patel) has been summoned by the PAC. This petition is premature," the bench said.

The bench, however, gave liberty to the petitioner M Furquan, a journalist, to approach a court if he is not satisfied by any decision taken by the PAC.

In his petition, Furquan had sought directions to the central government to order a CBI enquiry into the alleged "corruption in the purchase of aircraft by the 6th respondent (Air India) for a sum of Rs50,000 crore making it bankrupt".

The petition also said that Patel, currently heavy industries minister in UPA-II, "played a vital role in the present plight of Air India.