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Praful Patel appears before ED in Air India seat-sharing case

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New Delhi, June 11, 2019-

Former Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel on Tuesday appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for a second day of questioning in connection with the agency’s probe into the irregular seat-sharing on Air India’s profitable routes.

Patel, who was questioned for over eight hours on Monday, deposed before the ED officials at its headquarters in South Delhi’s Khan Market area.

On Monday, the ED questioned the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader about his relations with the Air India and Civil Aviation Ministry officials.

The case allegedly involved corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar.

The ED has already questioned several Air India officials and also recorded the statements of then Civil Aviation Secretary and others involved in processing and finalizing the agreements.

Patel was the Civil Aviation Minister in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government when the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines took place. He has denied any wrongdoing in the case.

Talwar, currently in judicial custody, was extradited to India from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in January for his suspected role in the case.

The ED is probing the Air India-Indian Airlines merger, purchase of 111 aircraft from Boeing and Airbus at Rs 70,000 crore, ceding of profitable routes and schedules to private airlines and opening of training institutes with foreign investment.

It is also investigating how the money received in Talwar’s accounts were transferred to government employees, including those in the Civil Aviation Ministry.

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