THE Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned former finance minister P Chidambaram in connection with its money-laundering probe in an alleged aviation scam during the UPA dispensation, officials said on Monday. They said the senior Congress leader has been asked to depose on August 23 before the investigating officer of the case at an Enforcement Directorate office here to record his statement. The case pertains to losses suffered by Air India due to an alleged multi-crore aviation scam and irregularities in fixing air slots for international airlines. Former aviation minister Praful Patel was previously grilled by the ED and it is understood that the agency now wants to question Chidambaram on their leads in this case. The rationale of deal for the purchase of 111 aircraft from Airbus and Boeing at a cost of INR 70,000 crore was questioned by the Comptroller and Auditor General in 2011 during 2nd UPA regime headed by Dr Manmohan Singh. The deal has caused the unending financial losses being incurred by the national carrier. Being the Union Finance Minister, Chidambaram had headed an Empowered Group of Ministers which approved the agreement .His questioning is expected to help the ED understand the decision making process related to the purchase of 68 aircraft from United States based Boeing and 48 from Europe based Airbus companies. The senior Congress leader is being probed by the Enforcement Directorate in two other multi-crore money laundering cases related to Aircel-Maxis and INX Media. However, he has been granted relief by The Delhi High Court from custodial interrogation as being sought by the sought by the investigators.
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