Digvijaya Singh air upgrades figure in probe into aviation consultant

The data, some of which had to be restored from deleted files, shows that Singh and his family members had been frequently upgraded during international air travel, mostly on Emirates Airlines.

Written by Ritu Sarin | New Delhi | Updated: September 11, 2016 5:44 am
international air travel, Emirates Airlines, Digvijaya Singh, Digvijaya Singh air travel, CONGRESS general secretary, Income Tax Investigation, aviation consultant, Deepak Talwar, india news, indian express news, indian express Congress leader Digvijaya Singh addressing media at Congress Bhavan on his way back from from Wari on Friday. Express Photo by Arul Horizon

CONGRESS general secretary Digvijaya Singh’s name has emerged in the large volume of documents recovered by the Income Tax Investigation Unit during a raid on the premises of aviation consultant Deepak Talwar on June 22.
The data, some of which had to be restored from deleted files, shows that Singh and his family members had been frequently upgraded during international air travel, mostly on Emirates Airlines.

Sources in the I-T Department told The Sunday Express that the value of the air ticket upgrades — over several years — was “substantial”.

When contacted by The Sunday Express, Singh said, “Someone called me informally and told me this kind of inquiry is on. But nobody from the Income Tax Department has contacted me officially or sent me any notice or called me for questioning. You can check the facts, like the number of airline upgrades and the value of the same from the department or from Deepak Talwar. All I can say is that no one has spoken to me officially about this.”

Sources close to the Congress leader said the upgrades were mostly on the New Delhi-Houston sector, from 2009 onwards. Talwar, who was named in the Ranjit Sinha diary and the Radia tapes, did not respond to calls or text mssages sent to him.

The search on Talwar’s premises had yielded documents and account books showing that between 2012 and 2015, his NGO, Advantage India, had received around Rs 143 crore in several tranches in the form of CSR (corporate social responsibility) funds from MBDA, Europe’s leading missile manufacturing company, and the erstwhile EADS, which in 2014 was reorganised as the Airbus Group.

While Talwar claimed there was “no wrongdoing”, all aspects of the case, including the airline upgrades for Singh and the funds given by the defence majors, are now under the scanner. When asked if taking frequent upgrades for international travel did not amount to accepting a huge favour, Singh told The Sunday Express, “I need not respond to such questions. As a politician, I do not have to come on record.”