Prakash Javadekar demands probe of Praful Patel in multi-crore PMC Bank scam

Updated: Oct 19, 2019, 08:17 IST | Agencies | Mumbai

Prakash Javadekar also accuses the NCP leader Praful Patel of 'ruining' Air India, which is on the block for disinvestment

A PMC Bank customer protests outside the RBI building. File pic/PTI
A PMC Bank customer protests outside the RBI building. File pic/PTI

Nagpur: Union minister Prakash Javadekar on Friday accused NCP leader Praful Patel of "ruining" flag carrier Air India and sought a probe against him in the multi-crore scam at the Mumbai-based Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank.

The senior BJP leader also alleged huge loans were approved on phone calls during the Manmohan Singh government, which weakened the financial condition of state-run banks. Without naming Patel, Javadekar said, "Certain person who is facing ED probe...his role in PMC Bank bankruptcy case should also be probed."

"This person was regularly using the aeroplane belonging to some of the accused in the PMC bankruptcy case. Similarly, who gave the SRA development work near the Mumbai airport to the accused and why? "Hence, further probe is required to find out who else is involved in the PMC bank scam," Javadekar said.

Prakash Javadekar
Prakash Javadekar

Replying to a query, Javadekar said Patel, as the aviation minister, completely "ruined" Air India, which is suffering losses and is on the block for disinvestment. "Around R60,000 crore worth of new planes were purchased for a R18,000 crore worth company under what business principles? Besides, those planes were not fully utilised.

"When planes of other private airlines were working for 20 hours, those of Air India were functioning only for nine hours. How can there be any profit in this situation? Good routes of Air India were given to private players. Who was responsible and accountable for this?" the minister asked.

To a query on former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's latest statement that the NDA government should stop blaming the UPA regime for economic and banking woes, he said India is mirroring what is happening at the global level.

"Economic slowdown is a reflection of global slowdown, but the weak situation of banks arose due a new type of phone banking, which was started under the Manmohan Singh government.

"Huge amount of loans were approved on phone calls and they robbed away the money and made the banks bankrupt. Who did this banking fraud?...This responsibility of fraud will fall on the Congress alone," he said.

Praful Patel
Praful Patel

Mirchi link: ED grills Patel for 12 hours

The Enforcement Directorate on Friday grilled Praful Patel for 12 hours in a connection with a money laundering probe linked to the alleged illegal assets of late Iqbal Mirchi, an aide of underworld don and terror accused Dawood Ibrahim. Patel reached ED's office at Ballard Estate at 10:30am and left at sharp 10:30pm. According to sources, the ED is also investigating the links between Patel and HDIL promoters Rakesh and Sarang Wadhawan. The agency has found some documents that suggest Patel used private jets of the firm linked to the Wadhawans.

Faizan Khan

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