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Investigation under way into irregularities: AirAsia India (Relevant for GS Mains Paper II)

Ex Tata Chairman, Mistry reported irregularities in Air Asia
Facing a charge of fraudulent transactions worth Rs.22 crore levelled by recently-ousted Tata group chairman Cyrus Mistry, Air Asia India said that a probe was under way into irregular claims of personal expenses against former personnel of the Tata group’s aviation venture with Malaysia-based carrier AirAsia Berhad.

These irregularities had already been reported to the AirAsia Board and discussed in its last meeting, a company statement said.

About Air Asia India
AirAsia India is a 51:49 joint-venture between Tata Sons and AirAsia Berhad (Malaysian based Carrier).

Mistry’s claims
Mr. Mistry had informed Tata Sons’ board members that a recent forensic investigation had “revealed fraudulent transactions of Rs.22 crore involving non-existent parties in India and Singapore” related to Air Asia India.

He had also said that a First Information Report was filed by the Tata Sons board only at the insistence of the independent directors, one of whom had immediately submitted his resignation.

Airlines Response to the allegation
Without linking its statement to Mr. Mistry’s specific allegation, the airline said that “there is an ongoing investigation against certain former personnel of AirAsia (India) Limited involving irregular personal expense claims and certain company charges.” It did not divulge any more details.

Background
In February 2014, the Federation of Indian Airlines representing IndiGo, Jet Airways, SpiceJet and GoAir, had moved the Delhi High Court against approval to AirAsia alleging foreign direct investment (FDI) norms violation, a charge AirAsia India had strongly denied.

Further, the airline’s chief resigned in February this year, less than two years after airline chief joined AirAsia India in June 2013, soon after the joint venture was announced.
The airline’s former CFO had also moved on in August 2015, while director of flight operations and Chief Pilot Operations too put in their papers recently.



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