The Enforcement Directorate (ED) raided the Mumbai residence of Naresh Goyal, founding father of the now-grounded Jet Airways, late Wednesday night in reference to an alleged money laundering probe initiated by the agency.
The central agency, taking cognizance of an FIR filed by a travel company that has accused Goyal and his wife, Anita, of cheating it of INR 46 crore, has registered an ECIR against the Goyals and Jet Airways.
The probe agency, which is additionally probing alleged foreign exchange violations by Naresh Goyal and Jet Airways, recorded Goyal’s statement under a section of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
In September last year, Goyal was questioned by Enforcement Directorate officials for over eight hours after a preliminary inquiry, launched in early 2019, alleged provisions of the foreign exchange Management Act (FEMA) were violated after Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways invested USD 150 million for a stake in Jet, a loyalty and rewards management company formed in 2012 as a subsidiary.
Goyal’s role within the deal is believed to be the most focused of that ED investigation. It’s important to notice that FEMA offenses aren’t criminal in nature, unlike those under PMLA.
This is not the first time officials have raided properties belonging to Goyal.
In August they searched 12 properties in Mumbai and Delhi, reportedly uncovering links between Naresh Goyal and foreign bank accounts with large amounts of cash in them.
In May, last year Goyal and his wife were stopped from traveling to London by immigration officials at Mumbai airport. A lookout circular had been issued against the two of them.
This came two months after the couple resigned from the board of Jet Airways. He also resigned because of the airline’s Chairman.
Weighed down by debts of INR 8,000 crore, Goyal’s Jet Airways stopped operations indefinitely earlier this year, leaving thousands of employees without a job overnight.
Until recently, the airline was the second-largest carrier in India by market share. Operations were stopped after the state bank of India-led consortium of lenders turned down an invitation for emergency funds.
Goyal is additionally being investigated by the intense Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), which functions under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, in reference to allegations that the promoters of Jet Airways were siphoning funds from the airline.
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