Former Finance Minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram is back under the scanner of Enforcement Directorate, within a month of being released from Tihar jail on bail, in connection with the Air India aircraft deal case on Friday.
As per the reports, Chidambaram was questioned for around six hours in connection with the probe into the Air India deal with Airbus.
Another name in the alleged scam is of NCP leader and the Civil Aviation Minister in UPA government in 2009, Praful Patel. ED had filed a chargesheet against the lobbyist Deepak Talwar on March 30, 2019, in connection with the case, including leaders at the time of UPA government.
Talwar was arrested by the agency last year after he was deported from UAE.
ED had summoned Chidambaram earlier in connection with the aviation scam on August 23, 2019, but as he was in jail due to his alleged involvement in the INX Media case, he failed to appear before the agency.
The case pertains to a contract in 2009 to buy 43 aircrafts from Airbus which was finalised by a panel of ministers headed by P Chidambaram.
As per ED, the proposal to buy 43 aircrafts from Airbus was sent to the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). There was a condition laid down that the manufacturer would have to build training facilities and MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) centres as a cost of Rs 70,000 crore.
It is alleged by the probe agency that once the purchase order was placed, the clause was removed from the contract.
After his release from the Tihar jail where he spent 106 days in connection with the INX Media money laundering case, this is the first time that Chidambaram is being questioned by the probe agency. He was released on December 4 last year on a bail granted by Supreme Court.
He is also named in a separate money-laundering case of Aircel-Maxis deal by the ED.
As per the probe agency, the Air India had planned to buy over 111 aircraft from Airbus and Boeing during the UPA government in 2009.