The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday said it has summoned AirAsia’s top management including its Malayasia-based CEO Tony Fernandes for questioning on January 20.
A source in the ED said that they have summoned the top brass for questioning under the sections of Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
According to ED sources, the central financial probe agency, beside Fernandes, has also summoned Tharumalingam Kanagalingam a.k.a. Bo Lingam (Group President) AirAsia Airlines, senior group executive S. Ramadorai, former AirAsia CEOs Naresh Algan and Mittu Chandiliya and businessman Arun Bhatia, who was earlier holding substantial equity in AirAsia.
The source said there are allegations that the senior officials of AirAsia entered into a criminal conspiracy with the UPA government to tweak rules for getting overseas flying rights.
He said the ED is probing certain transactions which were made to a Singapore firm, which allegedly did not provide any services.
He said the agency is also probing a transaction with an alleged ghost firm in India which did not have any government filings.
The ED had registered the case of money laundering against AirAsia officials and others for allegedly trying to manipulate government policies through corrupt means to get international licenses for its Indian venture AirAsia India Limited in mid-2018.
The central financial probe agency filed the case to probe if alleged tainted funds were used to create illegal assets and it has taken cognisance of the CBI’s FIR to lodge its own case.
The CBI had named Fernandes and others in the case of violating FDI norms in giving effective management to a foreign entity through FIPB clearance in 2013.
The CBI’s FIR had earlier alleged that transaction with Singapore based HNR trading was a Sham Transaction and the money was used to pay alleged bribes to senior government officials.