The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has started investigating certain financial transactions by Naresh Goyal, former chairman of now-defunct Jet Airways, with a bank in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the latest developments.
Naresh Goyal’s interrogation by the ED began in the afternoon on March 4 and went on till late evening on March 5. Further, the questioning is likely to go on till March 6.
Former Jet Airways chief and founder Naresh Goyal has been charged with money laundering Rs 2,000-3,000 crore overseas. Jet Airways took loans totalling around Rs 9,000 crore from various institutions and the ED suspects that more than 20 to 30 percent of this sum was laundered overseas. The ED carried out raids and searches at 12 locations across Mumbai and Delhi in connection with the case under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).
ED had registered a case against Goyal under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) earlier this week. Goyal and his wife were earlier questioned by the agency on multiple occasions for violations under FEMA.
This was after a court order directed the Mumbai Police to register a case against Goyal and his wife Anita under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), for allegedly cheating Mumbai-based Akbar Travels of India to the tune of Rs 46 crore. The complaint was lodged by company CFO Rajendran Neruparambil.
Directorate officials carried out searches at Goyal’s residence on March 4. He was summoned to the ED office, where he was quizzed for about four hours and was later taken to his Mumbai residence.
Searches were then carried out at Goyal’s residence by agency officials in the evening on March 4. He was summoned to the ED office, where he was questioned for around four hours and then taken to his Mumbai residence at 9 pm.
In August 2019, the ED probed diversion of funds from loans borrowed by Jet Airways in the period of over a decade. Goyal and others had allegedly misused loans borrowed from various banks and diverted it to foreign countries through ghost companies.
Goyal’s statement was recorded by the agency at his Delhi residence. ED also raided the premises of Hasmukh Gardi, a close aide of Goyal.
Gardi was the promoter of Jet Airways for a long time and his company, Tail Winds Corporation, was floated by Goyal in the Isle of Man, Europe.
ED suspects that the initial funding to the company was done by some elements from the underworld.
Gardi’s name also appeared in the 2016 Panama papers leak. He is also under investigation by the ED and Income Tax Department in a case filed under the FEMA and Black Money Act, respectively.
The Serious Fraud of Investigation Office and Income Tax Department are also investigating Jet Airways in this matter. Interestingly, Goyal tried to flee the country but was detained at the airport.