Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal, wife quizzed for 2nd day by EDUpdated: Mar 05, 2020 23:38 IST
Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal and his wife Anita, were questioned for the second consecutive day on Thursday in connection with a money-laundering probe by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
Goyal was questioned on Wednesday and taken to his south Mumbai residence where searches were conducted till the early hours of Thursday. He was again called on Thursday to record his statement. Accordingly, he and his wife reached ED’s Ballard Pier office in the afternoon and left around 10.30pm.
The agency has questioned the erstwhile Jet Airways chairman multiple times in the past, in connection with purported violations of provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), relating to foreign direct investment (FDI) norms.
Trouble mounted for the businessman after the ambit of the probe was widened to cover alleged contraventions under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Goyal refused to interact with the media during his ED visits.
The agency had earlier claimed that Goyals’ business includes 19 privately-held companies of which 14 are registered in India, and five abroad. ED has alleged that Goyal also indirectly controls various other entities abroad, some of which are located in tax havens.
As per ED’s probe during the FEMA investigation, fictitious or inflated payments appeared to have been made to some foreign entities under various airline lease agreements and aircraft maintenance agreements. Large sums were reportedly sent abroad by way of inflated commission to a group entity in Dubai, which acted as the airline’s exclusive overseas general sales agent (GSA), ED had mentioned in an earlier statement.
The ED probe is now focused on alleged irregularities and inflated payments made to the Ireland-based firm which leased out aircraft to Jet Airways.
ED had last year searched the premises of Dubai-based NRI Hasmukh Deepchand Gardi’s son-in-law in Usha Kiran building on Carmichael Road in south Mumbai. Gardi, who had invested in the now-defunct Tail Winds Limited, the parent company of Jet Airways that Goyal started at the Isle of Man, a tax haven, and had featured in the Panama Papers relating to his companies in India, United Arab Emirates, and the British Virgin Islands.
A fresh case was registered against the Goyals this month under the PMLA that deals with the profit of crimes emanating from predicate offences. This case is based on a scheduled offence recently registered at MRA Marg police station for allegedly cheating a Mumbai-based travel company of ₹46 crore.
HT had first reported about the case on February 23.