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Praful Patel Hits Out At Radia

PTI 15 Dec 2010, 17:38:34 IST
New Delhi, Dec 15 :  Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, who was at the receiving end in the tapped conversations of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, today wondered how she came to prominence and what was her claim to fame.

Refusing to join issue with her, he said such people run "smear campaigns" and "vitiated" the atmosphere.

"How did she come to know so many people in Delhi. What was her claim to fame... all that is something people should ponder about," Patel said.

"Such people do not deserve any of my time and attention, except to say that it is such type of people who vitiate the atmosphere and run smear campaigns to suit their interests," he said, but ruled out plans to take any legal action against Radia for her statements against him.

In the controversial tapes, Radia tells Rajya Sabha member and former bureaucrat N K Singh that Patel has "destroyed the(aviation) sector. I am sorry I do have a view about it. I do not think he has done justice with the sector."

To this, Singh replies, "He has worked as a minister for Naresh Goyal (Jet Airways Chairman)."

Radia then says "yes, yes and now Vijay Mallya (Kingfisher Airlines) at the cost of the national carrier."

Patel said, "As we have brought in fundamental changes in the aviation sector and have made the system grow, we have got both bouquets and brickbats. Nobody would have criticised us if we had not done anything."

He dubbed Radia as an "economic terrorist" accusing her of having "vested interests" and a "personal agenda."

"You want me to comment on lobbies and their agents and what they have said. They have vested interests and a personal agenda," Patel said.  

A spokesperson of Vaishnavi Corporate Communications that is headed by Radia has described Patel's remarks as "irresponsible and baseless".

"It greatly pains and offends us when persons of higher authority make such irresponsible and baseless comments. However, we have no intention to enter into any meaningless war of words on the issue," the spokesperson said. PTI