New Delhi: Former Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel on Friday night trashed claims made by former Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai that he had nudged Air India to go in for largescale purchase of aircraft.
"I rubbish the claims made by Vinod Rai. A former bureaucrat, Rai should know the rules of business of government. Decisions of such nature can only be taken after clearance of the Project Investment Board and approval of the Union Cabinet," he told.
Rai has claimed that he was under pressure to drop the name of Patel from the auditor's report on the purchase of aircraft for the public carrier. Rai had stated that Patel had nudged Air India to in for largescale purchase of aircraft.
The former CAG claimed that all hell broke loose when the draft CAG report reached the ministry and bureaucrats tried to prompt him to drop the word "nudge".
Refuting the charge, Patel said, "In this case, Air India Board took the decision and it was the Empowered Group of Ministers headed by P Chidambaram which decided on the number of aircraft (to be purchased) and this was approved by the Union Cabinet."
Patel said Rai should be made aware that he had ceased to be the Civil Aviation Minister in January, 2011 and that the auditor had submitted his report some six months later.
"The question of anyone going to him (Rai) and talking to him or his officers at my behest from the Civil Aviation ministry itself contradicts his claims and I don't wish to join issue with people like him," he said.