Enforcement Directorate files case against Naresh Goyal for money laundering
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has registered a case against former Jet Airways Chairman Naresh Goyal under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
This comes after the MRA Marg Police in Mumbai registered a case against Goyal and his wife Anita by under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on order of the metropolitan magistrate 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.
Searches were carried out at Goyal’s residence by 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 nine pm.
Goyal and his wife were earlier questioned by the agency on multiple occasions for violations under the Foreign Exchange Manipulation Act (FEMA).
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.
The company 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 relation to the case under FEMA.
Goyal’s statement was then recorded by the agency at his residence in Delhi while another raid was conducted at premises owned by Hasmukh Gardi a close aide of Goyal.
Gardi, a Dubai based NRI was a promoter of a company named Tail Winds Corporation, floated by Goyal in the Isle of Man, Europe. Gardi was later also made Director in Jet Airways, a position he held for long. The agency suspects that some elements from the underworld were part of the initial funding for the airline.
Gardi’s name also appeared in the Panama papers leak and is under investigation by the ED. He reportedly owned 30 shell companies and his Carmichael Road premises was raided by the agency sleuths on March 5.
The Serious Fraud of Investigation Office and Income Tax Department are also investigating Jet Airways in this matter. Goyal tried to flee the country but was detained at the airport.