A long-running investigation by Indian financial crime agencies into alleged tax evasion by Middle Eastern airlines has recently focused on Qatar Airways (QR, Doha Hamad International) and resulted in a request for documents from the airline and searches of the Indian offices of several Middle Eastern carriers.

The Directorate General of GST Intelligence (DGGI), the Indian law enforcement agency responsible for tax evasion, led the office searches in October, which included searches of Qatar Airways' premises. Saying the focus on the Qatari airline was still in its "very initial stage," a DGGI spokesperson has also told Indian media outlets that the agency had uncovered incidents of tax evasion totalling INR57 billion rupees (USD685.1 million) involving over 6,000 fake instances of input tax credit claims between April 2020 and September. It is unclear whether the figures relate specifically to Qatar Airways or also include the other carriers under investigation. ch-aviation does not say that Qatar Airways or any other carrier has evaded taxes in India, only that allegations have been made and an investigation is underway.

However, the investigation has gained some prominence in India because of increasingly close trade and investment ties between the two countries, including a reliance on Qatar for liquified natural gas supplies to India. Also underscoring the geopolitical aspect of this is the recent sentencing to death of eight former Indian Navy personnel in Qatar after they were detained and sentenced on unspecified charges in August 2022. The DGGI faces the challenge of investigating while the Qatari government holds several powerful bargaining chips.

According to ch-aviation capacities data, Qatar Airways flies to 13 destinations in India, offering a total of 120 roundtrips each week and 24,500 seats in either direction. Other airlines flying into India from the Middle East region include Emirates, Etihad Airways,Air Arabia, Saudia, Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, Kuwait Airways, flynas, Jazeera Airways, flydubai, Iraqi Airways, and Fly Baghdad.