Congress era lobbyist Deepak Talwar received nearly Rs 360 crore to influence UPA minister and top bureaucrats to favour international airlines: ED

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has alleged that the ‘corporate lobbyist’, Deepak Talwar, who was involved in several aviation deals during the UPA regime, acted as a middleman in negotiations to favour foreign private airlines causing the loss to national carrier Air India.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has found dubious deposits alleged to be the kickbacks paid by the international airlines into several accounts of extradited Congress era lobbyist Deepak Talwar. The ED had discovered Rs 270 crores deposited in Bank of Singapore by international airlines and another Rs 88 crore received in his NGO to influence some top ministers and bureaucrats in the previous UPA regime, reported Times of India.

According to the reports, the ED has been grilling lobbyist Deepak Talwar in connection with the suspicious withdrawal of Rs 90 crore from various bank accounts of Talwar-controlled entities, which was then distributed to politicians and senior officials in the UPA era to tweak the rules to benefit certain foreign aircraft manufacturers and airlines.

The ED has also reportedly received details of at least $55 million deposited between 2008 and 2012 in Bank of Singapore in accounts of companies allegedly “owned and controlled” by Talwar. Four major international airlines and aircraft manufacturer Airbus which had allegedly transferred money has also been named by the ED while seeking custody of Talwar.

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The ED investigation has revealed that Deepak Talwar had allegedly received first of such payments of $23 million from Emirates in Bank of Singapore on June 3, 2008. Two months later, Emirates once again transferred another $11 million in Bank of Singapore in the accounts of a “company owned and controlled by Talwar”.

The ED alleges that Talwar was also paid $5.8 million in Bank of Singapore by Air Arabia around the same time in 2008, followed by payments of $9.6 million from Qatar Airways on February 27, 2009, and another $1.5 million from Air Asia on June 1, 2009.

Reportedly, Airbus has made two transfers of $10.5 million to Talwar controlled companies between August and September 2012, interestingly at the same time when civil aviation ministry under the UPA era had placed orders for the purchase of aircraft.

“These accounts in Bank of Singapore in which payments have been received from foreign airlines don’t belong to my client. He has neither incorporated these companies nor is he the beneficiary of these accounts. The NGO Advantage India was incorporated by Deepak Talwar sometime in the 1990s and the funds (Rs 88 crore) received from Airbus was part of corporate social responsibility,” Talwar’s lawyer Tanvir Ahmed Mir told TOI.

However, Qatar Airways has refused to comment on the accusations, while Emirates, Air Asia, Air Arabia and Airbus did not respond, reported Times of India.

Rajiv Saxena and Deepak Talwar. two high-profile lobbyists linked to UPA era scams were extradited to India from Dubai on January 31st. Rajiv Saxena is accused in a money laundering case connected with the AgustaWestland deal. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had named him in a supplementary charge sheet filed in the VVIP Chopper scam in September 2017.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has alleged that the ‘corporate lobbyist’, Deepak Talwar, who was involved in several aviation deals during the UPA regime, acted as a middleman in negotiations to favour foreign private airlines causing the loss to national carrier Air India.

The ED allege that during the UPA government, Deepak Talwar was instrumental in UPA’s decision to withdraw Air India from operating aircraft in some lucrative and profit earning routes connecting foreign destinations. Subsequently, those routes and timings were taken over by foreign private airlines causing losses to Air India.

Deepak Talwar had helped few foreign airlines in getting the routes vacated by Air India, and he received kickbacks from them disguised as consultation fee. ED has named Qatar Airways, AirAsia, Emirates, Air Arabia and Airbus as the companies that paid bribes to Talwar. The UPA government had decided to purchase 111 aircraft from Airbus and Boeing although the airline needed on 67 aircraft. Talwar is alleged to be involved in this deal also.

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