Money laundering case: Jet Airways' Naresh Goyal, wife quizzed by ED
A team from the central agency had raided the couple’s South Mumbai residence before they were questioned. The raid that started late Wednesday afternoon continued until 4.45 am on Thursday, the people said.
Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday questioned former Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal and his wife Anita for more than six hours in connection with a money-laundering case, people in the know said. A team from the central agency had raided the couple’s South Mumbai residence before they were questioned. The raid that started late Wednesday afternoon continued until 4.45 am on Thursday, the people said.
“Following a summons, the couple joined the probe on Wednesday afternoon. The team took them to their residence where searches were conducted till the wee hours of Thursday. The couple was asked to join the next day and they complied with the directives,” said an official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. On Thursday, Goyal was confronted with an official of a foreign bank, which had given a term loan of more than 650 crore to Jet Airways. The bankruptcy court has admitted this creditor’s claim. At least three agencies — the income-tax department, Serious Fraud Investigation Office and the ED — are probing Goyal and his family members over alleged irregularities at Jet Airways. The money-laundering probe focuses on transactions concerning maintenance agreements, lease agreements and those entered with the general sales agent (GSA), said the people. During the questioning, Goyal and his wife were also confronted with leads that the ED got from Toronto-based Egmont, an international network of 164 financial intelligence units, they said. “The airline was paying commission every year to its GSA in Dubai which was actually part of its Dubai-based group company. The commission was in excess of the permissible limit. The monies thus raised were routed through layers of companies” said an official. In the past, the ED had questioned the couple in a case over alleged violations of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). During that probe, the people said, the ED had confronted Goyal with documents related to 19 privately held companies, of which 14 were registered in India and five abroad. The central agency is also probing Goyal’s association with Dubai-based businessman Hasmukh Gardi. Gardi was allegedly an investor in Goyal’s Isle of Man-based Tail Winds Corporation, which was formed in 1992 and controlled all financial activities of Jet Airways, the agency had said. “Gardi’s name was also revealed in the Panama Papers for holding fraudulent companies (and) the source of the money invested in Tail Winds was from illegal activities,” it had said. The people said Gardi’s relatives were being probed in connection with separate cases for FEMA violations.
March 6, 2020, published on The Economic Times
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