AirAsia chief summoned by ED for rules violation and criminal misconduct


The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned the chief executive of AirAsia, Tony Fernandes on 20 January in an ongoing probe against the airline for allegedly lobbying the Indian government to secure overseas flight permits and violating rules that bar foreign airlines from controlling Indian carriers.


The agency has also issued summons to other senior officials of the airline under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), said a person with direct knowledge of the matter. The other AirAsia officials however have not been identified by the person.


ED is also investigating irregularities of funds as well as criminal misconduct against the carrier when it was lobbying for a licence to start services in India.


AirAsia India is owned 51% by Tata Sons, while AirAsia has a 49% stake. It operates more than 175 daily flights to over 20 destinations across the country.


The action against Fernandes comes more than a year after both agencies, ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), started their separate probes into the matter.


In June 2018, ED widened its probe into the AirAsia money laundering case, after collecting documents from the ministry of commerce and industry concerning FDI clearances given to the airline.


The agency has been investigating the FDI proposal made by the airline and clearances given by the erstwhile Foreign Investment Promotion Board to AirAsia so that it could launch its operations in India.


In May 2018, ED had filed a criminal case of money laundering against AirAsia officials and others for allegedly trying to manipulate government policies through corrupt means to get an international licence for its Indian venture, AirAsia India Ltd.