Patel rubbishes Canada bribery charge

Last Updated: Tue, Feb 07, 2012 18:04 hrs

New Delhi, Feb 3 (IBNS) Union Heavy Industry Minister Praful Patel has rubbished charges that he was ever involved in a bribery case as the civil aviation minister following reports of a Canadian national accused of bribing an Indian cabinet minister for some Air India contract facing a prosecution in a court of that country.

Patel said the allegations were preposterous and baseless and even wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh "in anger" seeking his intervention to clear his name in the case after he received queries from the bureau chief of Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail which carried the news.

Present Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said he has no knowledge of the news and is not considering any probe into the matter just on the basis of some newspaper report.

The Globe and Mail reported that "the federal Justice Department is planning to prosecute businessman Nazir Karigar, an Indian-born Canadian citizen on charges that he violated the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act - a law that forbids the payment of bribes abroad. "

"The case is scheduled to be heard at Ottawa's Ontario Superior Court of Justice in September," it said.

The paper said the case involved Karigar, "a 64-year-old entrepreneur, as well as an undercover FBI sting", a bankrupt Ottawa-area tech firm, a former Mumbai police chief and an Indian cabinet minister sometimes referred to as the "Beedi King."

Globe and Mail report quoting Canadian authorities said "Karigar described to others how he funnelled a $250,000 bribe to Praful Patel, India's Minister of Heavy Industries and a former minister of aviation."

The paper also mentions the policeman as Hasan Gafoor, a former Mumbai police commissioner.

Both Gafoor and Patel told the paper that they were hearing about the charges for the first time.

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