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Enforcement Directorate Seizes Rs 538 Crore Worth of Properties Linked to Jet Airways Founder Naresh Goyal in Money Laundering Probe

01-11-2023 : The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has taken a significant step in the ongoing legal battle involving Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal and others, attaching properties valued at Rs 538.05 crore in connection with a money laundering case. This development was announced by the agency on a Wednesday.

The attached properties encompass an array of assets, including 17 residential flats, bungalows, and commercial premises that are linked to Naresh Goyal, his wife Anita Goyal, and their son Nivaan Goyal. These properties are situated in London, Dubai, and various states within India, as detailed in an official statement by the Enforcement Directorate.

This move by the ED follows the filing of a chargesheet against Naresh Goyal and five other individuals in a Mumbai court the previous day. Naresh Goyal, who had been apprehended on September 1 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), is presently in judicial custody and incarcerated at the Arthur Road jail in Mumbai.

The ED’s involvement in this case originated from a first information report (FIR) initiated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against Jet Airways, Naresh Goyal, his wife Anita, and certain former company executives associated with the now-defunct private airline. The CBI’s FIR was prompted by a complaint lodged by Canara Bank.

In its complaint, Canara Bank alleged that it had extended credit limits and loans to Jet Airways (India) Ltd amounting to Rs 848.86 crore, with Rs 538.62 crore remaining outstanding. Subsequent investigations by the ED revealed that Jet Airways Limited had diverted these loans, acquired from a consortium of banks led by the State Bank of India and the Punjab National Bank.

The agency stated, “Naresh Goyal implemented a massive financial fraud in which the funds of JIL were systematically diverted in the garb of irrational and inflated General Sales Agent (GSA) commissions, large unexplained payouts to various professionals and consultants, by granting of loans to JetLite Limited (a 100% subsidiary to acquire Air Sahara), and subsequently writing off the loans by making provisions in the balance sheets.”

The ED’s investigation also uncovered that GSA commissions were improperly disbursed to Jet Air Private Limited (the GSA of JIL for India) and Jet Airways LLC Dubai (the Global GSA of JIL). JIL, in turn, financed the operational expenses of these GSAs, which were beneficially owned by Naresh Goyal.

The agency noted, “Hence, the management of JIL toed the line of Naresh Goyal and kept on paying large sums of money on a regular basis despite the fact that these entities were not performing any substantial service after 2009. The funds received in this manner were again utilized by Naresh Goyal and his family for their personal expenses and investments.”