• Plea in Bombay High Court for CBI probe into KFA’s jet fuel procurement

    The Bombay high court on Monday received a petition to hear a fresh plea for CBI action against Vijay Mallya and his defunct Kingfisher Airlines over Rs 602-crore aviation fuel, which he received on credit from a public sector company between 2008 and 2010.

    The petition has alleged that Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) started extending credit for the sale of aviation fuel to Kingfisher Airlines in 2008, and continued to do so despite his unpaid fuel bill of Rs 602 crore. After social activist Pratap Teli first approached the HC in 2013, the CBI had in February 2014 assured the court that it had registered a criminal case against Kingfisher and would complete its “inquiry” within three to four months. The HC bench of Justices Naresh Patil and V L Achliya had disposed of the petition then after recording the statement made by CBI counsel Rajesh Desai, but kept all issues open on merits of the case.

    Over two years later, Teli’s counsel Aditya Pratap on Monday informed a bench of Justices Naresh Patil and A M Badar that the CBI appears to have done nothing as its probe has not progressed at all. He said, “Representations made even last December to the CBI to find out the status of the probe have gone unanswered, and the HC ought to hear the matter afresh and direct it to complete it.” The bench directed that the matter be placed for hearing after two weeks.

    Teli’s petition says that in 2013 he got information of how a public servant was committing an offence of criminal breach of trust under the Indian Penal Code and criminal misconduct under the Prevention of Corruption Act over the huge fuel credit to Kingfisher Airlines.

    Concerned at the huge outstanding amount, the ministry of petroleum had written in March 2010 that “further supplies to KFA be made against bank guarantee to cover entire outstanding dues including for the credit period allowed by HPCL”. The ministry even sent a reminder in May 2010 expressing its “concern” over the “continued outstanding of HPCL towards Kingfisher Airlines on account of ATF supplies. Almost one-and-a-half months have elapsed, HPCL has not furnished action taken report.”

    When Teli first gave the information to the CBI, he said the premier agency merely sat on it till he moved the HC when the CBI said it registered an FIR. But despite the February 2014 HC order, the CBI has not investigated, nor filed any chargesheet or even a closure report, his petition said. “This inaction has emboldened Mallya to leave the country” and the petitioner to move the court.

    The petition in the court now says, “A detailed investigation is required to unravel the real truth about how HPCL kept on giving credit in violation of public policy.” 

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