The Delhi High Court has fixed January 17, 2019, as the date for hearing in Air Asia illegality and money laundering accusations on a daily basis. BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had moved the Delhi High Court for the direction to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to file a status report in Air Asia matter. There are allegations against Air Asia India for lobbying while trying to get an international flying license by manipulating policies and violation of foreign investment rules.

The CBI is inquiring into AirAsia India’s reported pay-offs to government officials and lobbyists to facilitate the abolition of the older norms which made it mandatory for Indian carriers to fly international only after a domestic flying experience of five years and after attaining a fleet of 20 aircraft ( known as 5/20 rule). The investigative agency is also inquiring if the current NDA government followed the procedure to relax the 5/20 rule that was set up by the Congress-led UPA-II government.

In May 2018, the CBI had booked Group CEO of AirAsia Tony Fernandes for allegedly trying to manipulate government policies through corrupt means to get an international licence for its Indian venture AirAsia India Limited. Along with Fernandes, several other top officials of Air Asia had been named as accused in the case.

The FIR, filed by the CBI, alleged that Tony Fernandes and his local Indian partner Tata Sons through their nominee R Venkataramanan lobbied in government to get all approvals including FIPB clearance and amend or removal of existing 5/20 rule for international operations.

Earlier, rules allowed Indian carriers to fly international only after a domestic flying experience of five years and after attaining a fleet of 20 aircraft. These rules were, however, relaxed in June 2016 to just 20 aircraft per fleet as part of the new civil aviation policy.

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