India's crime-fighting agency to probe allegations against Tata Sons

NEW DELHI - India's financial crime-fighting agency will look into Tata Sons' ousted chairman's allegations related to the mismanagement of the group's aviation ventures, India Today reported on Saturday citing a source.

Cyrus Mistry was removed as chairman of the 148-year-old Tata group this week in a move that stunned corporate India. Mistry has since accused his predecessor Ratan Tata of thwarting his attempts to restructure the $104 billion Indian conglomerate.

In a leaked letter to the Tata board, Mistry said he was opposed to Tata's aviation partnerships with Malaysia's AirAsia Bhd and Singapore Airlines.

In the case of Air Asia, a forensic investigation had found"fraudulent transactions" of 220 million rupees (S$4.58 million) involving "non-existent parties", Mistry alleged in his letter.

That allegation had prepared the ground for an "examination"of the case, the India Today report said, citing an unnamed official at the Enforcement Directorate.

Officials at the agency were not immediately available to comment. Tata Sons said it was unaware of any such probe. An AirAsia India spokeswoman said she did not have an immediate comment.

An investigation by the agency, if confirmed, would come at a time when India's capital markets regulator has already started looking into Mistry's allegations related to violations of corporate governance rules at Tata.