The Supreme Court of India has set a deadline on a case looking into alleged irregularities in the acquisition of aircraft for Air India (AI, Mumbai Int'l), reports The Financial Express. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has until June 2017 to finalise its probe into the purchase or hire of 111 aircraft at a cost of INR700 billion (USD10.2 billion) between 2004 and 2008. The aviation minister at the time was Praful Patel, who denies any wrong-doing.

Part of the probe involves the purchase of sixty-eight Boeing aircraft in 2005 for delivery in 2011. The original decision had been for just twenty-eight aircraft. A report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) found that the purchase had had a serious impact on Air India's finances. The report also questioned the haste at which the purchase was made.

The CBI is also investigating Patel for bribery over the purchasing of a facial recognition systems. In May 2014, Canadian Nazir Karigar was found guilty by the Ottawa Superior Court of Justice of conspiring to offer bribes to officials of Air India and to Patel. The conspiracy involved the tender of a multi-million dollar biometrics system to be supplied by Cryptometrics Canada. Despite the attempted bribery, the tender had not been successful, and the purchase did not go ahead. According to the court filing, had the purchase gone ahead Patel looked to pocket USD4 million. Karigar was sentenced to three years in prison.

The Indian non-governmental organisation, the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), has petitioned the CBI to additionally investigate allegations involving the awarding of lucrative routes to private airlines, which were directly detrimental to Air India.