The Central Bureau of Investigation on Friday summoned AirAsia Director R Venkataramanan on July 3 in connection with its investigation into a corruption case, PTI reported.
The agency named Venkataramanan and nine others, including the airline’s Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes, in a First Information Report in May. According to the CBI, two former ministers of the United Progressive Alliance government, who have not yet been identified, helped the airline get an international licence and Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearances.
The accused were allegedly involved in lobbying the government to get the 5/20 rule relaxed before the 2014 General Elections. The rule stipulated that an airline needs to be in operation for five years and must possess 20 aircraft to be eligible to fly abroad. The rule was replaced with a 0/20 rule in 2016 that removed the five-year criteria but mandates that the airline must allocate 20% of its fleet to the domestic sector.
Venkataramanan, however, has claimed that the CBI has “wrongly” accused him, and called the allegations baseless. The board of Tata Sons, which nominated Venkataramanan to the AirAsia board, issued a statement on June 26, expressing its confidence in him.