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Government queried on revoking Vectra choppers’ licence


New Delhi : The Delhi High Court Wednesday asked the government to explain why it had not issued show-cause notice to Global Vectra Helicorp, the aviation arm of the Ravi Rishi-led Vectra Group which operates a fleet of helicopters, before cancelling its security clearance.

The cancellation resulted in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) scrapping the firm’s chopper operation permit.

Justice Vipin Sanghi directed Additional Solicitor General A.S. Chandhiok to seek instruction from the government on the issue of cancelling the security clearance of the aviation company.

Complying with the court’s order that had in an earlier hearing directed the home ministry to submit records pertaining to the Global Vectra Helicorp, the ASG submitted files and justified the government’s action of withdrawing the security clearance.

Appearing for the company, senior advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul said that the government had failed to establish the basis on which the decision was taken in the name of security.

The DGCA May 7 scrapped the firm’s permit after the home ministry raised security concerns.

He contended that the order on the company’s operating permit and cancelling the security clearance had been passed without a show cause notice and hence was in complete violation of the principle of natural justice.

“It cannot be disputed that no explanation was sought from the petitioner nor any enquiry conducted prior to taking such serious action of withdrawal of security clearance and suspending its non-scheduled operator’s permit which virtually brings its business to an end,” Kaul added.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe against Ravi Rishi, who is one of the directors of the company and has three percent stake in it, cannot be the basis for blacklisting a company which has been supplying choppers for various purposes in the country since 1998.

The CBI is currently probing the alleged role of the London-based Vectra Group chairperson Ravi Rishi 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.

With a fleet of 23 choppers, the company operates onshore and offshore operations for oil companies and also caters to tourists in northeast India.