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Ready for CBI probe into airports deal: Praful Patel

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Feb 22 (UNI) Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel today said he was ready to face a CBI inquiry into the alleged scam in the move to purchase new aircraft and to privatise airports.

''We have full transparency in both the deals, but despite that if anyone has any doubts, I am ready to face a CBI probe,'' Mr Patel said.

He was asked about CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechuri's allegations that a scam bigger than Bofors had taken place in the airport privatisation.

''Despite being a close friend of mine, Anil Ambani could not get the contract for airports and consequently he went to court against the Ministry's decision. This itself is proof that nobody was favoured in the award of tenders,'' said the Minister while talking to the TV news channel.

Mr Patel, said he had gone to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh before a decision for buying aircraft was to be taken and urged him to help him ensure full transparency in the matter.

''It was after this that committees of his Ministry officials, a group of Mps and six Ministers, a committee of the Cabinet Secretary and one headed by Sridharan was involved in the matter and all decisions were taken in a transparent manner,'' he said.

But even after all this, ''if somebody is doubting our integrity, we are prepared for a CBI probe,'' he said.

The matter of purchase of aircraft was pending for the last 16 years and no government was able to take a decision. So, finally a decision had to be taken and his Ministry was committed to implement it.

Important decisions cannot be postponed because of the fear of reactions and allegations, he added.

At present only nine out of 126 airports were running in profit and there were 45 with no air operations. It was because of such a scenario that the decision to privatise airports was taken, said Mr Patel.


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