AirAsia CEO fails to appear before CBI, fresh summons soon

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New Delhi, June 6 (IANS) The CBI on Wednesday said it will issue fresh summons to Malaysia-based AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes as he failed to appear before it in connection with an alleged bribery case to get FDI rules tweaked.

“Fernandes did not appear before the agency today. We will issue fresh summons to him soon,” a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) official said requesting anonymity.

The agency summoned Fernandes on June 1, through email, asking him to come and record his statement before the investigators at the agency’s headquarters.

The official also said the investigating agency on Tuesday questioned Sunil Kapur, chairman of Travel Foods and Services that was given a contract of in-flight catering by AirAsia.

Earlier, the agency examined Rajendra Dubey, Director of HNR Pte Ltd, Green IT Com Pvt Ltd and RRT Services India Pvt Ltd.

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The CBI filed a case on May 29 against Fernandes, AirAsia India Director R. Venkataramanan and AirAsia Group Deputy CEO T. Kanagalingam alias Bo Lingam and others over alleged violation of norms for getting international flying license.

The CBI’s FIR also mentions aviation consultant Deepak Talwar, Dubey and some unknown public servants of the Civil Aviation Ministry and the then Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).

In its FIR, the agency alleged that efforts were made by Fernandes to get the 5/20 rule of civil aviation policy changed so that AirAsia could start international operations.

The rule requires that an airline must be operating in India for five years and have at least 20 aircraft in its fleet before starting international operations.

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Fernandes is also accused of “putting pressure” on former AirAsia India CEO Mittu Chandilya to pursue changes in regulatory policies for international aviation in India which would be beneficial to the company.

AirAsia and Venkataramanan have denied the charges, saying the accusations were made with mala fide intention and will be defended in court.

–IANS

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