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BJP demands probe against Praful Patel for bribery charges

New Delhi, Fri, 03 Feb 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Feb 3 (ANI): Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Balbir Punj has demanded a special probe against former Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel on Friday after reports emerged in a leading Canadian newspaper suggesting that he was bribed.


The newspaper reported that Patel during his tenure as the Civil Aviation Minister took a bribe to the tune of about 100 million dollars from an Indian born Canadian national, Nazir Karigar after the Air India floated tenders to introduce computerised passenger face recognition biometrics system.


Punj told media: "This is a very serious development. And particularly the way Air India was robbed and after that a serious allegation being made in a very respectable newspaper in Canada. The Prime Minister must immediately order a high level inquiry and take the nation into confidence as to what he is doing about this serious allegation."


Current Civil Aviation Minister, Ajit Singh said that a probe could not be ordered merely on the basis of a newspaper report.


"He (Patel) has denied doing any such thing. I have no information about this and he has also told the Prime Minister that he is ready to face a probe. What else can be done? How can any report published in any newspaper lead to a probe? Something concrete has to be there," he said.


Karigar is accused of paying bribes and also for being involved in a bid-rigging scheme in 2007 in a failed attempt to win contracts for computerized passenger face recognition biometrics system of Air India.


The case filed at the Royal Canadian Mountain Police against Karigar also includes the name of Hasan Gafoor, former Mumbai Police Commissioner.


Meanwhile, the newspaper also pointed out that there is no direct proof that Patel had accepted the bribe.


Patel on his part denied the allegations made against him and said that he was a victim of conspiracy.


The former civil aviation minister has also written to Manmohan Singh on the issue and has mentioned that he was ready to be probed. (ANI)


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