Bribery charge: PM backs Praful Patel

Patel had been named by a Canadian newspaper as the intended beneficiary of a $250,000 bribe.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:February 16, 2012 12:10 am

Backing his Cabinet colleague Praful Patel on bribery allegations made against him by a Canadian newspaper,Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said he had ascertained the factual position that Patel,in his earlier role as civil aviation minister,was not in a position to deal with the aborted Air India contract for which the bribery is alleged.

In a letter to Patel,Manmohan Singh has also said the Ministry of External Affairs had been asked “to convey the aforesaid facts to the Canadian authorities concerned”.

Patel had been named by a Canadian newspaper earlier this month as the intended beneficiary of a $250,000 bribe supposed to have been paid by an Indo-Canadian businessman in an attempt to obtain a “$100-million contract” to supply facial-recognition security system to Air India — a contract that never fructified.

Patel denied the charge and wrote to the PM requesting him to get all the documents related to the aborted contract examined by any agency,and convey the factual position to the authorities in Canada.

“The Ministry of Civil Aviation has clarified that the relevant tender was not pursued after it was noted that the procurement was not cost-effective and would lower the yield. MoCA has further informed that all the acquisitions are within the purview of the Air India…,” Singh has said in his letter.

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