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Court seeks ED's response on lobbyist Deepak Talwar's bail plea

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: April 15, 2019  | 19:43 IST

New Delhi, Apr 15 (PTI) A Delhi court Monday sought ED's response on a bail application of Deepak Talwar, accused of acting as a middleman in negotiations to favour foreign private airlines causing the loss to national carrier Air India. The court issued notice to the agency and directed its special public prosecutor Nitesh Rana to file a reply by April 22. In his application, Talwar claimed that no purpose will be served by keeping him in further custody since he was not required for further custodial interrogation. "The probe is already complete since the ED has already filed a charge sheet. There is no likelihood of tempering with the evidence or influencing the witnesses," he said. The ED had earlier told the court that it was trying to find out the names of officials of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, National Aviation Company of India Ltd and Air India, who favoured foreign airlines, including Qatar Airways, Emirates and Air Arabia, by making national carrier, gave up profit making routes and profit making timings. "It has been alleged that officials of Ministry of Civil Aviation, NACIL, Air India, by abusing their official positions as public servants and receiving illegal gratification, in conspiracy with other public servants, private domestic and foreign airlines, made the national carrier gave up profit making routes and profit making timings of Air India in favour of national and international domestic and foreign private airlines. "This resulted in a huge loss of market share to the national carrier and also led to pecuniary benefits to private domestic and foreign airlines," ED's advocate A R Aditya had told the court. India held bilateral meetings with Dubai, Sharjah and Qatar after which there has been an increase in the seat entitlements for both the contracting countries and increase in points of call for foreign carriers, it said. Talwar has been charged with criminal conspiracy, forgery and under various other sections of the FCRA for allegedly diverting Rs 90.72 crore worth of foreign funds meant for ambulances and other articles received by his NGO from Europe's leading missile manufacturing company. His role in some aviation deals during the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance's (UPA) regime at the Centre is under scanner as well. Talwar was booked by the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in criminal cases of corruption, while the Income Tax Department charged him with tax evasion. PTI UK SA

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