Former Minister of Civil Aviation Praful Patel has defended the decision to acquire new aircraft for Air India in 2004, saying that when the UPA government came into power they had no choice but to buy new planes if the airline was to keep functioning. "All the competition had new aircraft and Air India had 20 year old planes that were falling apart. We had to buy new planes if we were to run the airline", said Patel in an exclusive interview with CNN IBN.
Patel also asserted that all merger and acquisition deals were broad based government decision making processes that were not taken singlehandedly by him. He asserted that all such decisions were a collective process and were always carried out with utmost transparency and clarity. He also denied the report's observation that there was too much government interference in Indian Airlines, saying that both he and his predecessors had always adopted a hands off approach in the running of the airline.
Patel refused to acknowledge that the CAG report spelled trouble for the government and himself, saying that he was 'thankful' the report was finally out because it would lay to rest a lot of speculation that 'something was really wrong inside the civil aviation ministry'
Updated Date: Sep 08, 2011 17:02:55 IST