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AirAsia scam: Cyrus Mistry tears into Tata for dragging his name

New Delhi [India], Jun 1 :
Former Tata Group chief Cyrus Mistry on Thursday slammed AirAsia India director's Ramachandran Venkataraman for dragging his name in the AirAsia India scam case.

After the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) booked Venkatraman in connection with the scam in Air Asia clearance, the latter on Wednesday issued a statement refuting the allegation.

In a statement, he said, "In my capacity as non-executive director of Air Asia India Limited, I have been wrongly named as an accused by the CBI on operational matters where I had little or no role to play. It is commonly known that the present accusations qua Air Asia India find their root in baseless allegations made by Mr. Cyrus P Mistry and the Shapoor Pallonji Group against Tata Trusts Trustees (me included) and Tata Sons in his 'revenge' legal actions."

Calling the allegations, malicious and defamatory, Mistry added, "R Venkataraman, as the Managing Trustee of the Tata Trusts, should know better than to drag the name of such a remarkable institution into an investigation by the CBI over his alleged personal integrity and alleged corrupt business dealings."

"This ridiculous attempt to question the independence of the CBI and to cloak his alleged misadventures by using my name is treated with the contempt it deserves," he said.

"It is therefore deeply disturbing that a few individuals with alleged questionable motives are today bringing disrepute to the Tata Brand. It is well documented that Mr. R Venkataraman was intimately involved in the affairs of AirAsia India right from its inception. He has had many roles including that of Executive Assistant to Mr. Ratan Tata at the time of the formation of the Company, Tata Sons' nominee on the Board, as well as that of a shareholder with a 1.5 percent stake in the company. Therefore, his weak excuse that he was only a non-executive director without any responsibility is totally without any merit," Mistry continued.

"The Board of Tata Sons and the Tata Trustees need to concern themselves over the decline in governance standards at AirAsia India that this shameful case reveals. The Group and its employees deserve better. The actions or lack thereof that the Board of Tata Sons and the Tata Trustees may take, will define their commitment to upholding the value system enshrined by the Group's Founders," he further said.

The CBI on Tuesday booked Air Asia Group CEO Tony Fernandes among others under the Prevention of Corruption Act for violating aviation rule to get international flying licenses.
It also booked Venkatraman and DTA consultancy Pvt Ltd founder Deepak Talwar.

The investigative agency alleged that the Air Asia Group CEO lobbied with government servants for clearances, removal of existing 5/20 aviation rule and change in regulatory policies.

Under the 5/20 rule, a company needs a minimum of five years of flying experience and is also required to have 20 aircraft in their possession in order to become eligible for the license.

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