Friday, June 08, 2018

CBI files chargesheet against Paramount Airways, founder M Thiagarajan

Mumbai: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a chargesheet against erstwhile carrier Paramount Airways, its founder M Thiagarajan and three others on allegations of money siphoning and submitting false information to the authorities to get a flying licence.

The chargesheet has been filed in the Patiala House Court, Delhi, a spokesman at the agency told ET.

Paramount started operations in 2005 and folded in 2010 due to financial stress and legal issues. The chargesheet has been filed under section 120-B of the Indian Penal Code along with sections 420, 467, 468 and 471. Thiagarajan couldn’t be reached for a comment.

The accused allegedly set up five offshore leasing companies including one called Golden Lotus Leasing Corp. Between April 2008 and October 2009, they allegedly siphoned off or diverted Rs 19.68 crore by transferring the money to the leasing company’s account in the Union Bank of Switzerland, Singapore under the garb of monthly lease rentals for its planes. Golden Lotus was registered in the British Virgin Islands.

They also exported aircraft spares hypothecated to its lenders for a value of Rs 12.08 crore without informing them or getting a go ahead. Hypothecation is the practice where a debtor (in this case Paramount) pledges collateral (Paramount planes and spares) to secure a debt.
The lenders include State Bank of India, Indian Bank, Andhra Bank, Bank of India and IDBI.
The accused also allegedly induced the aviation regulator Director General Civil Aviation to issue NOC for a scheduled operators permit by “submitting false & fabricated information about the eligibility criteria for” the permit.
08/06/18 Anirban Chowdhury/Economic Times