Ignored Twice, Probe Agency Issues New Summons To AirAsia Top Officials

AirAsia has been accused of bribing government officials for overseas flight permits and violating rules preventing foreign airlines from controlling Indian operators.

Ignored Twice, Probe Agency Issues New Summons To AirAsia Top Officials

Air Asia CEO Tony Fernandes is among those summoned by the Enforcement Directorate.

New Delhi:

The Enforcement Directorate has issued fresh summons to three senior officials in the AirAsia management in connection with a money laundering case lodged by the CBI in May 2018.

While AirAsia Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes has been summoned on February 5, his deputy Bo Lingam and AirAsia India Director R Venkataraman have been asked to appear on February 3 and 10 respectively.

The CBI, in its complaint, had accused the AirAsia management of bribing government officials for overseas flight permits and violating rules that prevent foreign airlines from controlling Indian operators. Although the CBI summoned all three in July 2018 and the Enforcement Directorate this month, they did not comply with the directives.

Earlier on Thursday, the Delhi High Court had directed the Enforcement Directorate to file a status report in connection with its probe into the money laundering case against AirAsia. A division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar asked the probe agency to file a status report in a sealed cover and listed the matter for further hearing on May 14.

The court was hearing a plea filed by a BJP leader that challenged the Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance granted by the Centre to AirAsia India Private Limited.

Earlier, the court had also asked the CBI to file a status report on the matter in a sealed cover.

Among the charges levelled against Tony Fernandes are lobbying with government officials for clearances, removal of the existing 5/20 aviation rule and effecting a change in regulatory policies. Under the 5/20 rule, a company needs at least five years of flying experience and is required to have 20 aircraft in its possession in order to become eligible for the licence.

(With inputs from ANI)
 

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