Subramanian Swamy seeks stay on AirAsia application for international flights; HC to hear plea in March

Subramanian Swamy, AirAsia, AirAsia international flights, AirAsia India, Delhi High Court, lobbying by AirAsia India

In the first plea, Swamy sought a stay on the application filed by AirAsia India seeking an international permissions/ licence to fly internationally.
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The Delhi High Court Friday said it would hear in March a plea by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy seeking interim stay on AirAsia India’s application for a licence to fly internationally. Swamy has also filed another application seeking to know the status of the investigation conducted by the CBI in a case relating to alleged lobbying by AirAsia India while trying to get international flying licence by manipulating policies and violation of foreign investment norms.

A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao said it would hear the matter on March 29, by when the respondents, including the Centre and AirAsia, can file their objections to both the applications. In the first plea, Swamy sought a stay on the application filed by AirAsia India seeking an international permissions/ licence to fly internationally.

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It sought directions to the Union of India not to process the application of AirAsia until the final disposal of the present writ petition. “The legality and validity of the principal licence which is the domestic licence of AirAsia (India) Ltd have been challenged in the present writ petition, therefore, a licence to fly internationally which should emanate from the factum of the principal licence out not to be granted, the matter concerning the validity and legality of principal/domestic licence is being heard and considered by this court and is therefore sub-judice,” it said.

In the application seeking to know the status of the investigation in the criminal case, he said he had sent a complaint and letters to the CBI in March and July, last year regarding the investigation against AirAsia for alleged criminal breach of trust and misappropriation. The plea said as per media reports, the CBI has been probing AirAsia India Pvt Ltd in connection with the alleged corruption in attempts to get an international operation clearance from the government.

Besides CBI, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has lodged a money laundering case against some of the officials of AirAsia in the matter. The application said that the investigation conducted by the CBI was very relevant and crucial for adjudication of this petition since it has raised questions on the decisions and issues which are being probed by the agency.

Swamy had earlier argued that the flying licences granted to the carriers, which are joint ventures of Tata Group with Malaysia based AirAsia Berhad and Singapore Airlines, were in violation of the government’s policy on foreign investment. He had said that according to the policy, foreign investment was allowed only in existing airlines and was not meant for floating or starting a new airline, like Vistara and AirAsia India.

The BJP MP had also alleged that there were questionable transactions in connection with the setting up of AirAsia India. The FIA had earlier alleged that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) was “deliberately turning a blind eye” to the issue. Malaysia’s largest budget-carrier AirAsia had set up the joint venture, AirAsia India, with the Tata Group and Telestra Tradeplace to launch the regional airline in India. Vistara is a joint venture between Tata Group and Singapore Airlines and is a full service airline.

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