AIR ASIA PMLA CASE ED issues fresh summons to CEO Fernandes others

PTI
Saturday, 25 January 2020

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued fresh summons to senior executives of Air Asia airlines, including CEO Tony Fernandes, for questioning next month in connection with a money laundering case, officials said on Friday.

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued fresh summons to senior executives of Air Asia airlines, including CEO Tony Fernandes, for questioning next month in connection with a money laundering case, officials said on Friday.
According to sources, the central agency has asked Fernandes to appear before the investigating officer of the case here on February 5, his deputy and former Deputy Group CEO of Malaysia-based Air Asia Berhad Bo Lingam on February 3 and R Venkataramanan, former Director Air Asia India Ltd, on February 10.
A Tata Sons spokesperson said Venkataramanan had received the summons "first time" on January 22 and it was incorrect to say he ignored any communication sent to him by the federal probe agency.
"Mr Venkataramanan has confirmed he will be attending to the ED summons as required," the spokesperson said, adding he was a non-executive nominee director of Tata Sons on the board of Air Asia Ltd when the airlines took shape.
"Based on due enquiry undertaken by Air Asia Limited, there has been no wrongdoing by Mr R Venkataramanan," he added.
Few others linked to the present and past management of the airline have also been asked to depose, sources said.
The ED had earlier asked some of these executives to appear this month but after some failed to appear or sought additional time, new dates have been given, they said.
The summons have been issued under the PMLA and as per sources, the executives will be questioned and their statements recorded in connection with the investigation.
The agency had registered a case under the PMLA against the airline and its officials in May, 2018.
This criminal case was filed two days after the CBI filed a criminal complaint to probe these allegations.
Probe in the case is related to allegations that the airline tried to manipulate government policies through corrupt means to get international licence for its Indian venture Air Asia India Limited.
The ED is also probing this case under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).
This probe was on the basis of allegations of ousted Tata Group chairman Cyrus Mistry that fraudulent transactions of Rs 22 crore, involving non-existent entities in India and Singapore, were carried out in an instance involving the airline.
Air Asia India at present has flights connecting 21 domestic destinations and as per a aircraft fleet tracking website, it has 29 Airbus A320 planes.

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