Police to record statements of 7 accused in Mumbai Airport cheating case

Mumbai: Statements of all seven accused in the Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) cheating case, including Joint Secretary of Ministry of Civil Aviation Alok Sinha and two senior officials of GVK group will be recorded soon, police said.

"We will record statements of all the seven accused mentioned in the FIRs and then submit them before the Andheri court which ordered registering of the complaints," said Deputy Commissioner of Police Virendra Mishr.

A court in suburban Andheri had directed the police to register the FIRs and start a probe after the activist Vishwas Bhamburkar had approached the court. Sinha, GVK Reddy, Sanjay Reddy and four senior police officials were booked last week after the complaint that MIAL received undue benefit to the tune of hundreds of crores of rupees.

Although no time-frame has been fixed for completion of probe by the court, the DCP said, "We will summon the accused to the Airport police station and the statements will be recorded at the earliest by an investigation officer." The basis of the FIRs is a report of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on the Mumbai airport modernisation project.

MIAL operates the Mumbai airport. Sinha, then chairman of Airports Authority of India (AAI), GVK Reddy, chairman of GVK Ltd, G V Sanjay Reddy, current managing director, MIAL, deputy police commissioner Namdev Chavan, assistant police commissioner Madhukar Sankhye, senior inspector Rajendra Nagbhire and inspector Vijay Sathe have been charged in an FIR filed at Airport police station here under IPC sections 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 420 (cheating) and 120B (criminal conspiracy), police said.

Second FIR names the four police personnel under IPC sections 166 (public servant disobeying law with intent to cause injury to any person), 217 (public servant disobeying direction of law with intent to save person from punishment or property from forfeiture) for not registering the complaint earlier.

The third FIR has been registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act against the four policemen in the same case. Bhamburkar had also approached police last December, seeking registration of FIRs on the basis of the CAG report, but police refused to entertain him, so he moved the court.

According to the CAG's draft report, MIAL, owned by a consortium led by GVK Power and Infrastructure, received undue benefit from the government. It accuses the civil aviation ministry and the AAI of failing to monitor the Mumbai airport up-gradation and modernisation project effectively. According to CAG, the project was to be completed in 2010 but was delayed by over three years, but the ministry did not levy penalty on MIAL for the delay. Further, to recover the increased cost, MIAL was allowed to levy additional usage fee on passengers.

The CAG has also castigated the government for wrongly calculating the land available, which resulted in MIAL getting an additional 126 acres. MIAL got 2001 acres land against the 1,875 acres it was originally meant to get, and it was able to commercially utilise 191.2 acres, about 12 acres more than originally meant, giving it undue benefit, it said.

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