AirAsia FIPB Clearance: Delhi HC directs Enforcement Directorate to file status report in sealed cover
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AirAsia FIPB Clearance: Delhi HC directs Enforcement Directorate to file status report in sealed cover

The order in Subramanian Swamy's petition challenging the FIPB clearance granted by the Centre to AirAsia (India) Pvt. Limited.

Aditi Singh

The Delhi High Court today directed the Enforcement Directorate to file a status report in the ongoing probe into the allegations of money laundering arising out of the allegedly irregular Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance granted by the Centre to AirAsia (India) Pvt. Limited.

As per the Court's direction the report shall be filed in a sealed cover.

The order was passed by a Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar in Subramanian Swamy's petition challenging the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted by the Centre to AirAsia (India) Pvt. Limited.

Swamy had today sought a direction to join the Enforcement Directorate as a party to the petition to bring the developments on record.

The Court thus issued notice to the Enforcement Directorate and stated,

"The Enforcement Directorate is permitted to be impleaded as Respondent for the purpose of filing a status report in a sealed cover..."

The Court added that the issue of continuation of Enforcement Directorate in the petition would be considered after the report is placed on record. The Court also recorded Enforcement Directorate's statement that investigation in the case is ongoing.

Appearing for Air Asia, Senior Advocate Rajiv Nayar submitted that the law had already been set in motion and the plea was not for a court monitored probe.

In response, the Court said that at present, certain facts needed to be brought on record and it was not ordering any Investigation.

In July 2019, the Court had directed the Central Bureau of Investigation to submit its status report with respect to its investigation in the Air Asia case in a sealed cover.

The same was taken on record by the Court today.

In his writ petition, Swamy had contended that the FIPB approval granted to AirAsia was in violation of FDI policy. Air Asia is a joint venture between the Malaysian company, AirAsia Investment Ltd., Tata Sons Ltd. and Telestra Tradeplace Private Limited. Swamy contends that the same is in violation of the FDI policy, as neither of the Indian companies is a domestic airline operator and FDI is not allowed in “greenfield” companies.

Subramanian Swamy appeared in person. AirAsia was represented by Senior Advocate Rajiv Nayar. The Centre was represented by Standing Counsel Amit Mahajan. The matter was heard next on May 14.

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