ED arrests Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal in bank fraud case

Goyal is expected to be produced before a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act court in Mumbai on Saturday where the ED will seek his custodial remand.

ED arrests Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal in bank fraud case

Saturday September 02, 2023,

3 min Read

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on late Friday night arrested Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal in a money laundering case linked to an alleged bank fraud of Rs 538 crore at Canara Bank, said official sources.

He was taken into custody under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) following a long session of questioning at the central agency's office in Mumbai.

Goyal, 74, is expected to be produced before a special PMLA court in Mumbai on Saturday where the ED will seek his custodial remand, the sources said.

Jet Airways, a full-service carrier, had shut its operations in April 2019, after running out of cash. Later, Goyal stepped down as the chairperson of the airline.

The money laundering case stems from an FIR of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against Jet Airways, Goyal, his wife Anita. and some former company executives in connection with the alleged Rs 538-crore fraud case at Canara Bank.

The ED had carried out raids against Goyal and others involved in the case in July.

The CBI FIR was registered on the bank's complaint that it sanctioned credit limits and loans to Jet Airways (India) Ltd (JIL) to the tune of Rs 848.86 crore of which Rs 538.62 crore was outstanding.

The CBI had said the account was declared "fraud" on July 29, 2021.

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The bank alleged that the forensic audit of Jet Airways showed that it paid "related companies" Rs 1,410.41 crore, out of a total commission expenses, thus siphoning off funds from JIL.

"As per a sample agreement of Jet Airways (India) Ltd (JIL), it was noted that the expenses of General Selling Agents (GSA) was to be borne by GSA itself and not by JIL. However, it was observed that JIL has paid various expenses amounting to Rs 403.27 crore which is not in tune with the GSA," the complaint, now part of the CBI FIR, alleged.

It said personal expenses such as salaries of staff, phone bills, and vehicle expenses of the Goyal family were paid by JIL.

It surfaced during the forensic audit that funds were also siphoned off through Jet Lite (India) Ltd (JLL) by way of making advance and investing and subsequently writing off the same by making provisions.

JIL diverted the funds for subsidiary JLL in the form of loans and advances and investments extended.

In February, another money laundering case against Goyal, linked to alleged cheating and forgery filed by Mumbai-based Akbar Travels, was quashed by the Bombay High Court after the Maharashtra Police filed a closure report stating it found no substance in the complaint and the dispute seemed to be civil in nature.

As this ED case was based on police FIR and was the predicate offence for filing a money laundering case, it was declared quashed by the high court.

A division bench of justices Revati Mohite Dere and Prithviraj Chavan quashed the ECIR (Enforcement Case Information Report or the ED equivalent of an FIR) registered on February 20, 2020, and all proceedings against Goyals on the ground of "being illegal and contrary" to law.

Edited by Swetha Kannan