ED questions P Chidambaram in UPA-era scam involving purchase of aircraft for Air India, irregularities in fixing air slots

Former Union finance minister P Chidambaram was on Friday questioned by the Enforcement Directorate for about six hours in connection with a money-laundering probe into an alleged aviation scam said to have occurred during the UPA dispensation, officials said

Press Trust of India January 04, 2020 00:03:46 IST
ED questions P Chidambaram in UPA-era scam involving purchase of aircraft for Air India, irregularities in fixing air slots
  • The Enforcement Directorate questioned ex-FM P Chidambaram over an alleged multi-crore aviation scam and irregularities in fixing air slots for international airlines

  • Chidambaram's statement was recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), officials told PTI, adding the questioning went on for about six hours at an agency office in New Delhi

  • The ED probe in this case also relates to the purchase of over 110 aircraft in 2006, costing about Rs 70,000 crore, for the national airline.

New Delhi: Former Union finance minister P Chidambaram was on Friday questioned by the Enforcement Directorate for about six hours in connection with a money-laundering probe into an alleged aviation scam said to have occurred during the UPA dispensation, officials said.

Chidambaram's statement was recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), they said, adding the questioning went on for about six hours at an agency office in New Delhi.

The senior Congress leader was first summoned by the federal probe agency in this case on 23 August last year but at that time he was under CBI custody after being arrested in the INX Media alleged corruption case.

ED questions P Chidambaram in UPAera scam involving purchase of aircraft for Air India irregularities in fixing air slots

File image of former finance minister P Chidambaram. PTI

The latest investigation pertains to losses suffered by Air India due to an alleged multi-crore aviation scam and irregularities in fixing air slots for international airlines.

The Enforcement Directorate probe in this case also relates to the purchase of over 110 aircraft in 2006, costing about Rs 70,000 crore, for the national airline.

The CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) had in 2011 questioned the rationale behind the government's decision to order the aeroplanes.

Former aviation minister Praful Patel has been grilled by the ED in connection with these decisions and it is understood that the agency wanted to question Chidambaram on some leads it obtained in the case.

Officials said Chidambaram was heading an empowered Group of Ministers for these deals and hence it is important to talk to him to know the decision-making process undertaken by the government.

Chidambaram came out of jail early December last year after over 100 days in CBI and ED custody in the INX Media case. The bail was granted by the Supreme Court.

The former finance and home minister is also being probed by ED in the third case of money laundering related to the Aircel-Maxis deal. He has been questioned in this case too.

Chidambaram had earlier described the ED action in the Aircel-Maxis case as a "crazy mixture of falsehoods and conjectures".

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