The Delhi High Court Friday sought records from the home ministry and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for the basis on which the operating permit of the aviation firm Global Vectra Helicorp was suspended.
Hearing the case filled by Global Vectra, aviation arm of the Ravi Rishi-led Vectra Group which operates a fleet of helicopters, challenging the aviation regulator’s decision to suspend the company’s operations permit, Justice Vipin Sanghi posted the matter for further hearing on May 28.
The DGCA May 7 suspended the firm’s operating permit after the home ministry raised security concerns.
The court’s direction came after senior advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul, appearing for the company, said the court must see the reason behind suspending the operating permit of the chopper firm.
“There must be material to show why they have suspended the operating permit of the company, and the court must see those materials,” he said.
Further questioning the urgency of suspending the permit, Kaul said: “What is the urgency to suspend the operating permit, why it could not wait?” There has to be reason on what basis operation permit of the aviation firm suspended, he added.
He submitted that the home ministry informed the DGCA that security clearance of Ravi Rishi had been withdrawn. The DGCA then suspended the non-scheduled chopper operator’s permit.
On the other hand, defending the decision, DGCA advocate Anjana Gosai told the court that it had only followed the process suggested by the home ministry, which was acting on grounds of public safety.
“MHA (ministry of home affairs) is the main department to give security clearance, we have followed the process. If security clearance of the company is withdrawn by the MHA, the DGCA has to withdraw operating permit,” she said.
“I can not surpass the MHA, I only suspended the operating permit. I have not cancelled or terminated it,” she said, adding that DGCA has already initiated the inquiry into the matter.
Vectra contended that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe against Ravi Rishi, who was one of the directors of the company and had three percent stake in it, cannot be the basis for blacklisting a company which had been supplying choppers for various purposes in the country since 1998.
The CBI is currently probing the alleged role of Rishi, London-based Vectra Group’s chairperson, in connection with the multi-crore rupee deal for the heavy-duty all-terrain Tatra trucks for the army and the bribery allegations made by the army chief, Gen. V.K. Singh.
With a fleet of 23 choppers, the company operates onshore and offshore operations for oil companies and also caters to tourists in northeast India.