The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday conducted search operations at the residence of Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal in connection with alleged violations of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) norms. The probe agency also searched a dozen more locations in Mumbai and Delhi.
Searches by the agency were conducted over violations of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) and were aimed at gathering additional evidence in Etihad Airways' investment in Jet Privilege Private Limited (JPPL). The ED believes the company might have violated FDI norms when the UAE-based airline took a stake in JPPL in 2014.
Commenting on the development, an Etihad spokesperson had earlier said: "Etihad is co-operating fully with relevant authorities and we abide by the laws of various countries we operate in."
A full-service carrier, Jet Airways shuttered operations on April 17 after running out of funds. Thousands of employees lost their jobs and the airline's slots and aircraft were leased out to competitors on a temporary basis. The airline is presently facing insolvency proceedings under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and at least three entities have put in initial bids for the debt-laden airline.
Currently, Jet Airways has liabilities exceeding Rs 26,000 crore. These include more than Rs 10,000 crore in vendor dues, Rs 8,500 crore along with interest owed to the lenders, over Rs 3,000 crore in salary dues, and over Rs 13,500 crore in accumulated losses over the past three years.
Back in July, a Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) inspection report had found large-scale irregularities, including diversion of funds, at the airline. In March, Goyal stepped down as chairman of the airline.