Jet Airways founder booked for money laundering; ED raids home
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday night raided the home of Jet Airways founder and former Chairperson, Naresh Goyal, after it booked him in a case of money laundering. The development comes after a travel agency filed a case of fraud against him with the Mumbai Police. Notably, Goyal was questioned by the ED last year for alleged Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) violations.
Reportedly, the ED summoned Goyal at its office in Ballard Estate on Wednesday and proceeded to question him for four hours. The ED reportedly recorded Goyal's statement and registered a case against him under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Later in the day, the ED took Goyal to his residence on Altamount Road in South Mumbai and raided the home.
The ED booked Goyal after taking cognizance of a recent case registered against him by a Mumbai-based travel company at the MRA Marg police station. In the complaint, Akbar Travels of India CFO Rajendran Neruparambil accused Goyal and his wife Anita of cheating the travel company of Rs. 46 crore. The complaint was registered based on a February 18 Bombay High Court order.
Reportedly, Akbar Travels had been doing business with Jet Airways since 1994. The complainant alleged that the airline hid its financial crisis and assured the travel agency that it would not incur any losses. The complainant alleged that they incurred losses due to the assurances.
Incidentally, the ED had conducted similar raids at Goyal's home in August last year. The probing agency had then found that Goyal owned 19 companies, including five abroad, through which money was siphoned off to foreign countries. Some of these countries are tax havens, the ED had said. In September, the agency questioned him for the first time over alleged FEMA violations.
With debts amounting to Rs. 8,000 crore, Jet Airways shut operations in April last year. A month before the airline was grounded, Goyal and his wife stepped down from its board. Goyal also resigned as the Chairperson of Jet Airways, paving the way for lenders to come to Jet Airways' aid. However, a State Bank of India-led consortium of lenders denied emergency funds.