At the release of his daughter Daman Singh’s book, Manmohan Singh said that he merely did his ‘œduty’.
After former Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai sensational revelation about the losses that Air India made, the former UPA minister for aviation Praful Patel has lost his sleep.
Rai, while promoting his book Not Just An Accountant on the channel a week ago, had claimed that Patel put pressure on the Air India board during his tenure at the Civil Aviation Ministry, which caused the flag carrier to purchase 68 planes instead of the 28 that it was originally to be bought.
He apparently “nudged” the board at a meeting on 2 August 2004 to buy 40 more planes and look at the “long term perspective”. These extra planes, said Rai, were bought at a cost of Rs 38,000 crore.
Adding to woes of UPA and Patel in particular are another set of revelations by Rai which reportedly say that Air India sold Boeing 777 aircraft to Etihad at one-fifth the original price, thus incurring a huge loss.
“Everybody was aware that such a purchase would create a financial crisis for AI. When any purchase has a debt proportion of 97%, there’s no way it can be commercially profitable. Within 5 years of the 777s purchased by AI, they had to be sold to Etihad, 5 for the price of 1.We bought one aircraft at one price and sold it at one fifth of that price,” Rai told Times of India.
Patel, during an interaction with the television channel Times Now, became rather aggressive refuting the charges.
He refused to accept the charges and also refused to drag the former prime minister Manmohan Singh into the issue.
He had stalled Jitendra Bhargava’s book in similar fashion but Rai’s book is already out and the damage has been done. Hence, he has threatened Rai with a criminal defamation suit and is furnishing documents over various news channels showing that his name is nowhere in the CAG report or any other Air Inida documents.
Well, Patel should be smart to notice that Rai has already made it clear that he was pressurized by the Air India officials to keep Patel’s name out of the reports. And if Air India officials were a party to Patel’s plan, obviously they would not include his name in any of the official documents thus to incriminate him later.
Till now, the ex-PM has not shown any guts to refute any of the charges. As meekly as ever he blurted out at the release of his daughter Daman Singh’s book that he merely did his “duty”.
Well, the former PM’s duty towards the nation brought Air India to its knees and his duty towards Madame Sonia Gandhi filled UPA’s coffers. Which duty is he talking about?