Rs 70,000 crore Air India scam: Wrap up probe by June, SC tells CBI

When the AG said that looking into all the charges levelled by the NGO would drag the investigation, the bench firmly told him: "We are not going to allow you too much of time given the fact that the FIR was registered in 2013."

Rs 70,000 crore Air India scam: Wrap up probe by June, SC tells CBI

Cracking its whip on the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the SBI to complete probe into the alleged Rs 70,000 crore scam in purchase and leasing of aircraft by Air India during UPA-I government in 2005-06.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi informed a bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justices N V Ramana and D Y Chandrachud that CBI had registered a FIR in 2013 and has already examined 55 witnesses. He said that the investigations are likely to be completed by June.


Under the chairmanship of then Finance Minister P Chidambaram, an empowered group of ministers including then law minister H R Bharadwaj and civil aviation minister Praful Patel was constituted on December 20, 2005. It held discussions with Boeing and GE on December 24, 2005.

For the approval of then Prime Minister, Chidambaram submitted the information which then on December 30, 2005 directed that the ministry of civil aviation "may inform the CCEA about the finalised transaction".

Bench headed by Khehar asked CBI to look into all allegations levelled by petitioner, Centre for Public Interest Litigation through advocate Prashant Bhushan, including alleged irregularity in purchase of biometric system for Air India at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore.
Bhushan informed the court that a Canadian superior court had already found that bribes were paid in bagging the contract for biometric systems by Air India. The petitioner had also questioned allocation of lucrative routes to private airliners at the cost of Air India.


When the AG said that looking into all the charges levelled by the NGO would drag the investigation, the bench firmly told him: "We are not going to allow you too much of time given the fact that the FIR was registered in 2013."


Amid the allegations, the Comptroller and Auditor General had given a report, and it was referred to the Public Accounts Committee, who sought some clarifications from aviation ministry who responded on May 3, 2016.