Wrongly named in AirAsia India graft: Tata Trusts’ Venkataramanan2 min read . Updated: 30 May 2018, 10:50 PM IST
Tata Trust's Ramachandran Venkataramanan said he has been wrongly named as an accused by the CBI on operational matters regarding AirAsia India where he had little role to play
Mumbai: Tata Trust’s Ramachandran Venkataramanan, who is also a director of AirAsia India Ltd, on Wednesday said that he has been wrongly named as an accused by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on operational matters regarding AirAsia India where he had little role to play.
Venkataramanan’s statement comes a day after the CBI raided the offices of AirAsia India and filed a complaint against Tony Fernandes, chief executive of parent AirAsia Bhd and others including Venkataramanan, for allegedly lobbying the government for overseas flight permits and violating rules that prevent foreign airlines from controlling Indian operators.
“In my capacity as non-executive director of AirAsia India Ltd, I have been wrongly named as an accused by the CBI on operational matters where I had little or no role to play," Venkataramanan said, adding the accusations were rooted from ‘baseless allegations’ made by former Tata Group chairman Cyrus P. Mistry and the Shapoorji Pallonji Group against Tata Trusts Trustees and Tata Sons in his legal actions against the group after being ousted from it. AirAsia (lndia) Ltd, a joint venture between Tata Sons Ltd (49%) and Malaysia’s AirAsia (49%), started operations in June 2014.
The FIR filed by CBI in New Delhi on 28 May stated that public servants from the civil aviation ministry and FIPB entered into a criminal conspiracy with Venkataramanan, Fernandes, Tharumalingam Kanalingam, Rajendra Dubey with the intent to help AirAsia (lndia) Ltd to expedite the approval process and change in aviation policies to suit AirAsia India.
It also said that Tata Sons Ltd through its nominee on the AirAsia India board, Venkataramanan, lobbied to get all approvals including FIPB clearances and amendment/removal of existing 5/20 rule.
The 5/20 rule, which has since been abolished, required airlines to operate for at least five years and induct 20 aircraft in its fleet before starting international operations.
On Wednesday, Venkataramanan said in his statement that and AirAsia India was one of the many airlines that had formally sought a review of 5/20 policy.
AirAsia India on Wednesday said that allegations concerning AirAsia India have been fully investigated by the civil aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in 2016-17.
The DGCA order effectively ruled that the operations and management of Air Asia India was in accordance with Indian rules, AirAsia said in a statement. Mails and messages sent to Fernandes elicited no response till press time.
On Wednesday morning, he said in a Twitter post that—"Sometimes wonder about certain media. Who just wrote anything without checking any facts. Seriously wild stuff which are just plain wrong and inaccurate."