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ED issues summons to PIA in Delhi in forex violations case

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued summons to Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) in connection with alleged violation of forex laws in purchase of local properties by the neighbouring country’s flag-carrier here.

The PIA’s local office in-charge in the national capital has been issued summons for appearance and submission of documents after the probe agency found that it has “acquired/ purchased” some immovable official premises in alleged contravention of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), and as stipulated by the RBI.

“The PIA has been issued summons and there executives have been asked to depose before the agency on January 13,” ED officials said.

The ED had found that the Pakistan’s national carrier has acquired five flats/offices at Barakhamba road area in central Delhi without obtaining necessary clearances from the banking regulator — Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Officials said FEMA laws stipulate that “no person being a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Iran, China, Nepal or Bhutan without prior permission of the RBI shall acquire or transfer immovable property in India other than lease, not exceeding five years.”

The PIA, they said, has allegedly been found contravening this clause and hence ED has issued summons to it for scrutiny of official documents and records after which the agency will decide to initiate penal action which can either be levy of financial penalty or cancellation of the purchase deal.

Officials said initially the alleged violation was detected by the RBI and subsequently the ED was informed to initiate investigation into the case.

They said the probe agency has obtained land and ownership documents of the flats/properties in question from relevant government agencies and it has now sought PIA’s version in the case.

The agency has been probing cases of similar nature in the beach state of Goa where it has registered close to 200 cases where foreigners have acquired immovable properties in alleged violation of FEMA laws and RBI rules.

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