CBI questions ‘Travel Food Services’ owner in AirAsia case

Vastavam web: The CBI today questioned Sunil Kapur, owner of Travel Food Services, in connection with its probe into alleged lobbying by AirAsia while trying to get international flying licences by manipulating policies and violation of foreign investment norms, officials said.The agency has alleged that Kapur was employed by Group CEO of AirAsia Tony Fernandes as lobbying agent to whom the onboard catering contract was given by Deputy CEO Bo Lingam as a “quid pro quo” without any negotiation.

He was also asked about the meetings of civil aviation ministry officials and AirAsia executives arranged by him, the sources said but refused to give specific details as it may reveal the identity of the ministry officials under CBI scanner in the matter thus adversely affecting the probe.The agency officials also asked him about the alleged role of one Sriram who had purportedly received Rs 50 lakh from Bo Lingam for diluting 5/20 rule for international operations licenses.”An effort was allegedly made in the Ministry of Civil Aviation to remove/amend the 5/20 rule (which makes it mandatory for an airline to have five years of flying experience and 20 aircraft to be eligible for international flying licence),” CBI Spokesperson R K Gaur had said.

AirAsia India has only 18 aircraft as on date. The CBI has booked Fernandes, Bo Lingam, the then Deputy Group CEO of Malaysia based Air Asia Berhad and R Venkataramanan, Director of the Air Asia India Ltd, Bengaluru besides alleged lobbyists Kapur, Rajender Dubey and Deepak Talwar in the case.After the registration of the FIR, CBI spokesperson R K Gaur had said the accused promoters of the company and board of directors allegedly entered in criminal conspiracy with unidentified government officials through lobbyists to expedite the approval process for AirAsia India and change in aviation policies to suit the company.

“It was further alleged that FIPB and FDI norms were violated by said air group by giving effective management control to a foreign entity by making the said private airline (Air Asia India Ltd) a de-facto subsidiary indirectly rather than a joint venture,” Gaur had said.