The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday registered a new money laundering case against Naresh Goyal, former chairman of the grounded Jet Airways. Goyal who was earlier being probed by the ED in a Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) will now be investigated under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The fresh case filed by the ED is basis an FIR registered by the Mumbai Police earlier on the charges of cheating a travel company.
According to sources, the FIR filed by the police is based on a complaint by Mumbai-based Akbar Travels which named Naresh Goyal and wife Anita Goyal for allegedly cheating the travel company to the tune of Rs 46 crore. Mumbai Police had filed the case following instructions from the court.
Sources also said that the ED carried out searches at Goyal's residence and recorded his statement as well.
In the FEMA case, the federal probe agency's investigation revealed that Naresh Goyal could be the beneficial owner of several bank accounts abroad having huge deposits. On the face of it, these transactions entail numerous violations under FEMA.
ED's probe under FEMA is basis complaints and intelligence inputs it received from several sources.
"Naresh Goyal also indirectly controls various entities abroad some of which are in tax havens. Preliminary investigations done so far indicate that Naresh Goyal has structured various tax-evading schemes involving its domestic companies and the companies in foreign tax jurisdiction, thereby siphoning off huge amounts in foreign jurisdictions through dubious and fictitious transactions," the probe further said.
According to ED, these fraudulent and inflated payments seemed to have been made to some of these foreign companies under several airline lease agreements, aircraft maintenance agreements, etc.
"Huge amounts appear to have been sent abroad by way of inflated commission to its own group entity in Dubai, which acted as airline's exclusive overseas General Sales Agent (GSA)," an officer investigating the FEMA case said.
Naresh Goyal's business empire comprises 19 privately-held companies, of which 14 are registered in India and five are registered outside the country.
Goyal had stepped down as chairman of the airline in March 2019. Jet Airways shut operations on April 17 after it ran out of cash leading to thousands of employees losing their jobs.