Supreme Court to hear PIL challenging Jet-Etihad deal

New Delhi, Oct 4 : The Supreme Court will hear a PIL by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy challenging the Jet-Etihad deal permitting UAE's national carrier to acquire 24 percent stake in the Indian airline and its approval by the government.

A bench of Chief Justice P.Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi said that the matter would taken up for hearing Oct 8 as Swamy mentioned the matter and urged the court for an urgent hearing in the wake of approval granted to deal by the Cabinet Committe on Economic Affairs Thursday.

Alleging that there was lack of transparency in the deal, the PIL by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader contended it would result in "a grant of largesse of national asset in favour of a foreign airline (Etihad Airways) resulting in undue enrichment and enormous pecuniary advantage to such foreign airline at the cost and expense of the public, national and domestic airlines as well as airports".

The PIL has assailed the government for entering into agreement with UAE permitting Eithad Airways to carry 36,670 more passenger over and above permitted 13,330 passengers per week. The PIL described this increase in capacity entitlement as" unprecedented, arbitrary, irrational and unsustainable".

"The grant of such largesse is otherwise malafide, illegal and contrary to national and public interest as it results in creation of hurdles to the recovery and health of the national airlines as well as directly impedes the growth of domestic airports into international hubs," the PIL said.

Citing other instances, which Swamy alleged, were far from transparent and questionable in the deal, the PIL urged the court to intervene and prohibit the government from undertaking further steps for operationalising the bilateral agreement and direct an investigation under its (the court's) supervision.

--IANS (Posted on 04-10-2013)

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