New Delhi, May 5 (IANS) The CBI on Thursday filed a case against promoters of the now defunct Paramount Airways M. Thiagarajan for allegedly cheating and defaulting on multi-crore loans taken from public sector banks and diverting it to his offshore accounts.
Officials said search operations were on in at least seven locations in Chennai and Madurai, including at the office and residences of Thiagarajan, who headed the airline that started operations in 2005 but closed down in early 2010.
Hours after filing the case, several Central Bureau of Investigation teams carried out searches.
The agency booked Thiagarajan under various sections of Indian Penal Code relating to cheating and forgery on the allegation that the promoter had disposed of or sold hypothecated movable and fixed assets without the knowledge or permission of the banks which had extended credit to the company against these.
The CBI alleged that the proceeds were thereafter misappropriated by the promoters of the company. It claimed that Thiagarajan and his company “regularly siphoned off large amounts of money by transferring the same to the accounts of offshore firms incorporated abroad and showing the same as payment towards Lease Rental-Engine access” between April 2008 and October 2010.
It is also alleged that the accused “induced” the Director General Civil Aviation to issue no-objection certificate for scheduled operators permit by submitting false and fabricated information about the eligibility criteria.
The CBI alleged that the accused had also opened an off shore account in British Virgin Islands in the name of a company which was headquartered in Singapore to which he diverted the money received as loans from SBI, Andhra Bank, Indian Overseas Bank and Bank of India between April 2008 and October 2010.
Paramount Airlines had started its operations in 2005 and was flying to southern and eastern parts of India before it wound up 2010.
The company had submitted a plan to re-start operations with six ATR aircraft in 2013 but the banks wrote to the DGCA asking the aviation regulator not to allow the carrier to re-launch its services before clearing the dues.