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CBI clean chit over Air India-Indian Airlines merger: BJP must apologise to ex-PM Manmohan Singh, says Sanjay Raut

NEW DELHI: Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut on Thursday asked the BJP to apologise to former prime minister Manmohan Singh after the CBI filed a closure report in its Air India-Indian Airlines merger case.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a closure report in its probe into the alleged irregularities in the leasing of aircraft by NACIL, a company formed by the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines during the UPA era, as there was no “evidence of any wrongdoing”, officials said Thursday.

NCP leader Praful Patel, who now belongs to the outfit headed by Ajit Pawar, was the Union civil aviation minister in the earlier Congress-led United Progress Alliance (UPA) government when the leasing was done. Talking to reporters, Raut said the BJP had made a hue and cry over alleged corruption in the civil aviation sector during Manmohan Singh’s tenure as PM.

“The BJP must apologise to Dr Singh,” he said.

The National Aviation Corporation of India Limited (NACIL) was formed after the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines.

The CBI has alleged that the decision was made “dishonestly”, and the aircraft were leased even while an acquisition programme was going on.

The leasing decision was taken ”in conspiracy with other unknown persons on extraneous considerations” that resulted in ”pecuniary benefit” to private companies and consequent ”loss to the government exchequer,” the CBI had alleged in its FIR.

About the reported discord among MVA partners ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, Raut said there is no dispute among the allies over seat sharing.

The opposition grouping MVA comprises the Congress, Sena (UBT) and NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar). “On April 3, a press conference of MVA leaders will be held at Shivalaya, the Sena (UBT) office. Uddhav Thackeray, Sharad Pawar and Congress leaders Nana Patole, Prithviraj Chavan and Balasaheb Thorat will be present,” he said.

Raut also said that Thackeray will also attend the opposition INDIA bloc rally at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi on March 31, organised to “safeguard the country’s interests and democracy”. The opposition parties announced the rally last week following the arrest of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with an excise policy-linked money-laundering case.

Source: Press Trust of India

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