Paramount Airways come under CBI radar

Paramount Airways come under CBI radar

After Vijay Mallya, the CBI has registered a case against a promoter of another defunct airline, Paramount Airways, for “defrauding and diverting” loans to off shore accounts.

Investigators conducted searches at seven locations in Chennai and Madurai belonging to Paramount Airways and its Managing Director M Thiagarajan immediately after registering a case under cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy.

The CBI claimed that Thiagarajan submitted “false and fabricated” documents to Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to get Air Operators Permit (AOP). He also opened an off shore account in British Virgin Island in the name of a company with Singapore as its headquarters, CBI sources said. Thiagarajan could not be contacted for his comments.

The airline with five Embraer planes, which was based in Chennai and operated services in South India and eastern cities of Kolkata, Guwahati and Agartala, stopped flying in 2010 after DGCA deregistered its aircraft following a dispute with its aircraft lessors over non-payment of lease rentals.

In November 2012, the airline was awarded a compensation of around Rs 1,600 crore through international arbitration and the DGCA renewed its AOP. However, lenders State Bank of India, Andhra Bank, Indian Overseas Bank and Bank of India among others wrote to DGCA against the move saying the airline owed them around Rs 550 crore and it needs to settle the dues first before flying. According to a CBI statement, the promoter of the airline had sold moveable and fixed assets of the airline “without knowledge or permission of banks, which had extended credit facilities to the airlines”. “These assets were hypothecated to them,” the statement said.

No response from UK on Mallya

The UK has not yet responded to India’s request to deport business tycoon Vijay Mallya, who is being probed by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case, reports DHNS from New Delhi.

Vikas Swarup, official spokesperson of the MEA, said that the High Commission of India in London had not yet received any response from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the UK government. He added that the British High Commission in New Delhi had also not responded to the request from the MEA.

The MEA earlier wrote to the British High Commission in New Delhi, conveying India’s request to the UK government for deportation of Mallya. The MEA pointed out in its communique that the liquor baron’s passport had been revoked and a non-bailable warrant had been issued against him by a special court in Mumbai. The High Commission of India in London also issued a note verbale to the UK government, asking for deportation of Mallya.
 

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