The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday summoned the entire top management of AirAsia including its past top executives. AirAsia’s Malaysia based-CEO Tony Fernandes is asked to appear before the official on 20th January. Summons have been issued under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The case is related to an alleged violation of rules by AirAsia Group President Tharumalingam Kanagalingam aka Bo Lingam, Arun Bhatia who held a substantial stake in the airline, former Chairman S Ramadorai, Senior Group Executive Naresh Algan and ex-CEO Mittu Chandiliya for their involvement in securing a license to operate domestically and globally. The case also includes a violation of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) rules for its Indian venture AirAsia India.
These actions come after more than a year of ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) launched different probes in the alleged financial irregularities and criminal misconduct. In May 2018, ED had filed a money laundering case against AirAsia officials for trying to manipulate government policies through corrupt practices.
Later in June 2018, ED started probing AirAsia for money laundering after collecting documents from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry related to foreign direct investment (FDI) clearances given to the airline.
The CBI has raided offices of the private airline and lodged an official complaint against Fernandes for lobbying the government for overseas flight permits.
AirAsia India (AAIL) had refuted any wrong-doing and said the company was co-operating with all regulators and agencies to present the correct facts.