Court dismisses bail application of lobbyist Deepak Talwar in aviaton scam

NEW DELHI: A Delhi court on Thursday dismissed the bail application of corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar in a corruption case related to negotiations allegedly favouring foreign private airlines and causing loss to state-owned Air India.

According to the CBI, Talwar had acted as a middleman in negotiations to favour foreign private airlines, including Qatar Airways, Emirates and Air Arabia, by making national carrier Air India give up profit-making routes and timings.

Special Judge Anil Kumar Sisodia dismissed the application filed by Talwar seeking “default bail”, claiming that the cognizance of the chargesheet was not taken within 60 days as prescribed under the law.

The application also said that the accused had deep roots in the society, had a permanent abode and permanent address, and that he is not a flight risk.

“The applicant is not in a position even otherwise to tamper with the evidence or influence any witness and he is willing to abide by all the orders and directions passed by the court and is ready to furnish the bail bond,” the application said.

The CBI opposed the application saying the chargesheet was filed within stipulated time against the accused, i.e., the 60th day.

The accused was evading arrest and remained outside India during 2017-18 and “if he is enlarged on bail, he may flee or may influence the witnesses and tamper with the evidence”, the agency said, praying for dismissal of the application.

While dismissing the application, the judge said, “The chargesheet in the case was filed by the CBI on 60th day itself i.e. on September 23, 2019. Hence, in my considered opinion, the accused is not entitled to ‘default bail’ merely because cognizance was not taken by this court before the expiry of 60 days.”

“Hence, in view of the aforesaid discussion, I do not find any merits in the application filed by accused. The bail application of the accused is accordingly dismissed,” the judge said.

The CBI had arrested Talwar on July 26 in the case related to the deals which allegedly took place during the Congress -led United Progressive Alliance’s (UPA) regime at the Centre.

The agency took Talwar into custody inside the courtroom moments after the judge dismissed his anticipatory bail application.

Talwar, who was in judicial custody in a money laundering case related to the scam, was produced before the court in pursuance to a production warrant.

After arresting Talwar, the CBI sought his custodial interrogation from the court, which was allowed.

According to the investigative agency, the officials of Ministry of Civil Aviation, NACIL, Air India, by abusing their official positions as public servants, in conspiracy with other public servants, private domestic and foreign airlines, made the national carrier gave up profit making routes and timings of Air India in favour of national and international domestic and foreign private airlines.

This resulted in a huge loss of market share to the national carrier and also led to pecuniary benefits to private domestic and foreign airlines, it said.

It said that India held bilateral meetings with Dubai, Sharjah and Qatar after which there was an increase in the seat entitlements for both the contracting countries and increase in points of call for foreign carriers.

The Indian carrier could not utilize its seat entitlement in the optimum capacity and despite a number of seats having been left unutilised, after every bilateral, seats were increased to benefit the foreign airlines, the CBI said.

The CBI added that the foreign carriers were given more points of call whereas Indian carrier had only one.

Further, the foreign airlines were exercising the benefits of 6th freedom traffic. It means they were carrying the traffics of the countries other than their own, it added.

Talwar was booked by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate in criminal cases of corruption, while the Income Tax Department charged him with tax evasion.

Source: Press Trust of India

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