Involvement of UPA era aviation minister suspected in the ‘Air Asia Scam’ : Times Now

In a possible case of skeletons tumbling out of the closet, a Times Now report suspects the involvement of an UPA era aviation minister in what is being dubbed as an ‘Air Asia scam’:

The report alleges that erstwhile civil aviation minister Ajit Singh was paid a bribe of Rs 10 crore try and get the 5/20 rule relaxed thereby benefiting the airline. Under this said rule, any domestic airline needed a minimum of 5 years of experience in aviation and a fleet of 20 aircrafts to qualify for an international flying license.

This bribe related accusation as the the report has emerged during a privileged conversation between the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the CBI. The report also claimed that the alleged bribe being paid to the minister and his officials would have been enough to get an exemption with regards to the rule.

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The genesis of this allegation as per the report, is a statement made by an unknown CEO to enforcement authorities under a Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) case.

This development comes just a day after the CBI had booked a Congress era lobbyist Deepak Talwar along with Air Asia’s CEO Tony Fernandes, airline’s director R Venkatraman, Director of SNR Trading Rajendra Dubey and unnamed government officials on charges of flouting for obtaining international flying licenses.

The lobbyist Deepak Talwar who is officially designated as an “aviation consultant” is reported to have made about Rs 1000 crores between 2008 and 2011 for influencing aviation policies of the UPA government to favour his clients. These airlines supposedly include Air Asia, Emirates, Qatar Airways and Air Arabia.

Talwar has also been linked to Congress leader Digvijaya Singh following recovery of some files by the Income Tax department in 2016.


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