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Jet Air to take legal action against US company

June 06, 2005 19:07 IST

Jet Airways, India's largest private air carrier, on Monday indicated that it would take legal action against the United States-based Jet Airways Inc whose president and chief executive officer had alleged that the Indian carrier had links with terrorist organisation Al Qaeda.

The airline, however, did not reveal teh course of legal action it intended to pursue in the US or attribute a time frame to the action.

Jet Airways' US flights in doubt over 'Al Qaeda link'

Jet Airways, which has planned to launch scheduled flights between Mumbai and Newark via Brussels on June 23, also indicated that the inaugural flight to the US would be rescheduled owing to delay in approval from the Indian government. "We received the approval only recently from the Indian government, " Jet Airways (India) Ltd executive director Saroj Data said.

The top management of Jet Airways, which included CEO Wolfgang Prock-Schauer; COO Peter Luethi and Datta were addressing a press conference in Mumbai to announce their response to the allegations of the American company.

"Investigation carried out by us show that (the US-based) Jet Airways Inc is neither a certified airline nor does it have any aircraft registered in its name. It has not made any application to fly in the US and is a shell company with no business activity," Datta told reporters.

Launching a broadside against the US firm, Datta said that the Maryland-based American company had only a mailbox address and its business office was located in an executive suite.

"Further investigations have indicated that Nancy Heckerman, the president and CEO of Jet Airways Inc, was once called Nancy Ramchandra and Nancy Jacobs too. There is a long history of litigation and she has been evicted from other offices for non-payment of dues amounting to as little as $6,000 and $18,500," Datta claimed.

"It is a totally false claim that Jet Airways Inc has invested $2 billion in aircraft," Datta said. Datta ruled out chances of any out-of-court settlement and did not elaborate on the form of legal action that was planned.

Talking about the motive behind the US company's allegation, Datta said, it stems from trademark issues. "A year ago we filed an application with the US authorities for grant of the US Patent Trademark. This American company had registered this trademark in December 2002 and we have been in existence and running operations since May 1993 and using this trademark."

"We have filed a cancellation application with the US Patent Trademark office but expect it to take some time."

The American company has alleged in its petition to the US Transport Department that "since Jet Airways (India) Ltd was planned and started in 1991, it has been funded by Al Qaeda 'specifically designated global terrorist' Dawood Ibrahim, and no matter how wonderful the service and the airline may be in India, it is still an enterprise which is used to launder money for Al Qaeda and it is still an Al Qaeda airline".

A Correspondent in Mumbai