For allegedly trying to manipulate government policies through corrupt means to get an international license for its Indian venture Air Asia India Limited, the CBI has booked Group CEO of Air Asia Tony Fernandes.
On May 28, the CBI registered criminal conspiracy case against Fernandes, Tata group trustee R. Venkataramanan and AirAsia India “for paying a bribe to unknown public servants of the Government of India and others.”
In its five-page complaint, the CBI has named 10 accused, including Fernandes and Air Asia Director and Tata Trusts Managing Trustee R Venkatraman for allegedly trying to manipulate government policies.
“The case has been registered under 120-B (criminal conspiracy) under the IPC and sections 13(2) read with 13 (1) (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The searches took place at five locations in Delhi NCR, Mumbai and Bengaluru,” CBI spokesperson R K Gaur said on May 29.
In order to get eligible for international operations, the company must have five years of experience and a fleet of 20 aircraft as per 5/20 rule, according to reports. However, the company is yet to get international flying permit as it currently has only 18 aircraft.
According to the FIR, the company through Venkatramanan was manipulating the government to get approvals and amends/removal of existing 5/20 rule for international operations.
However, Air Asia has refuted all the charges.
“Air Asia India Limited refutes any wrong doing and is co-operating with all regulators and agencies to present the correct facts. In November, 2016 AAIL had initiated criminal charges against its ex-CEO and had also commenced civil proceedings for such irregularities. We hope to bring early resolution to all such issues,” Shuva Mandal, Director, Air Asia India Limited said in a statement.