A model AirAsia Bhd. aircraft. (Photographer: Fabrice Dimier/Bloomberg)

CBI Questions Alleged Lobbyist In AirAsia Case, Summons Group CEO Tony Fernandes

The Central Bureau of Investigation today questioned ‘lobbyist’ Rajender Dubey in connection with alleged malpractices by AirAsia India Ltd. and its promoters while trying to get international flying licences by manipulating policies, officials said.

The CBI has also summoned Group CEO of AirAsia, Tony Fernandes, to appear before it on June 6 for questioning in the case.

Dubey, promoter of Singapore-based HNR Trading Pte. Ltd, was called today at the agency headquarters where he was questioned at length about the meetings he allegedly arranged for the executives of AirAsia India and its promoters in the power corridors, they said.

The CBI also asked him about the more than Rs 12 crore which were allegedly remitted to his company under the garb of a “sham” contract signed with AirAsia India, the official said.

Also Read: AirAsia India Blames The One Person Not Yet Being Investigated By CBI

The agency has alleged that Dubey had played a role as a liaison agent and was instrumental in seeking appointments and facilitating meetings for officials of the airline with the various government officials for clearance of formalities, they said.

During the year 2015-16, AirAsia (lndia) Limited remitted about Rs 12.28 crore to HNR Trading Pte. Ltd., Singapore for a sham contract on the basis of a bogus agreement on plain paper, which was utilised for paying bribe to unknown public servants of Government of lndia and others for securing permit for operation of international scheduled air transport services.
CBI FIR

The agency has alleged that two more lobbyists were roped in for distributing the money further.

After the registration of the FIR, CBI spokesperson RK Gaur had said that the accused promoters of the company and board of directors allegedly entered in criminal conspiracy with unidentified government officials through lobbyists to expedite the approval process for AirAsia India and change in aviation policies to suit the company.

“It was further alleged that FIPB and FDI norms were violated by said air group by giving effective management control to a foreign entity by making the said private airline (Air Asia India Ltd) a de-facto subsidiary indirectly rather than a joint venture,” Gaur had said.

Also Read: Enforcement Directorate Files Money Laundering Case Against AirAsia, Officials

He had said lobbyists were allegedly paid money which was utilised for paying bribe to unknown public servants and others for securing permit for operation of international scheduled air transport services.

“An effort was allegedly made in the Ministry of Civil Aviation to remove/amend the 5/20 rule (which makes it mandatory for an airline to have five years of flying experience and 20 aircraft to be eligible for international flying licence),” he had said.

AirAsia India has only 18 aircraft as on date.

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