Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday night in an alleged Rs 538-crore money laundering case linked to loans and credit lines given to the airline by Canara Bank.
Mr Goyal was taken into custody under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and is expected to be produced before a special PMLA court in Mumbai on Saturday.
The Basis Of The Case
The money laundering case is based on a first information report (FIR) against Jet Airways, Mr Goyal, his wife Anita and some former company executives, which was registered by the CBI on May 3. The FIR was filed after Canara Bank alleged a Rs 538-crore fraud.
The bank had approached the agency and said that it had sanctioned credit limits and loans to Jet Airways (India) Ltd (JIL) amounting to Rs 848.86 crore, of which Rs 538.62 crore has not been repaid.
The CBI had said the account was declared “fraud” in July 2021. It has accused Jet Airways and its founders of siphoning funds. According to the agency, between April 1, 2011, and June 30, 2019, the airline was found to have spent Rs 1,152.62 crore on professional and consultancy expenses.
Suspicious transactions to the tune of Rs 197.57 crore were identified among entities linked to the airline, with key managerial personnel also allegedly being connected to these entities.
The investigation found that Jet Airways paid Rs 420.43 crore of the total Rs 1,152.62 crore in professional and consultancy expenses to entities whose business nature did not match the service descriptions on their invoices.
Even personal expenses, such as salaries of staff, phone bills and vehicle expenses, among others, of the Goyal family were paid by JIL, said the FIR.
Questioning And Raids
Mr Goyal was taken into custody on Friday following a long session of questioning at the ED’s office in Mumbai.
On May 5, premises of the Jet Airways founder and old offices of the airline were raided by the CBI in connection with the Canara Bank Fraud.
The ED had also searched eight locations linked to Mr Goyal and his associates in July.
Jet Airways, once India’s largest private carrier, suspended operations in April 2019 because of a severe cash crunch and mounting debt.
The airline was acquired by a partnership between UAE-based businessman Murari Lal Jalan and London-based Kalrock Capital in June 2021, after a protracted insolvency process.