ED grills ex-Jet Airways chief Naresh Goyal, asks him to appear on Friday

Jet and Goyal have been under the agency’s lens for alleged violation of foreign exchange regulations during the signing of a $150-million deal with strategic partner Etihad Airways in 2014 for a loyalty programme.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has asked Naresh Goyal, former chairman of now-defunct Jet Airways, to appear before it again on Friday for further questioning in connection with a money laundering probe registered against him on Tuesday.

 

This will be the third consecutive day of questioning. On Wednesday, he was summoned to ED Mumbai’s office, where he was interrogated for four hours and taken to his residence later in the evening. On Thursday, too, he was grilled for a few hours.

 

Sources in ED said the probe indicated that funds were siphoned off through entities created abroad and the money was diverted to the personal accounts of Goyal and his family.

 

The agency has also detained Goyal’s fund manager as he was allegedly in charge of the former’s personal finances.

 

ED, which had conducted extensive search operations at Goyal’s residences on Wednesday, seized several digital documents and records pertaining to alleged fictitious transactions, an official said.

 

ED’s case is based on the first information report filed by the Mumbai police, which is necessary to probe “predicate offence” under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

 

Sources said that the probe agency could also write to lenders who did not get back their money, like State Bank of India, and nudge them to file a complaint.

 

Jet and Goyal have been under the agency’s lens for alleged violation of foreign exchange regulations during the signing of a $150-million deal with strategic partner Etihad Airways in 2014 for a loyalty programme.

 

During the FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) probe, the agency had alleged that Goyal’s companies executed several “colourable transactions” under the guise of selling and distribution expenses.

 

“Commission and other fictitious expenses were booked at unrealistically high prices and, therefore, they were projecting huge losses,” ED had said last year.

 

Further, Jet Airways had executed allegedly suspicious aircraft lease transactions with ghost entities located abroad, made payments towards lease rentals, and in exchange diverted the monies to Goyal, ED had said.



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