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ED searches Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal's premises in Delhi, Mumbai

Searches are being carried out under the provisions of the FEMA and are aimed at gathering additional evidence, ED officials said.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Aug 24, 2019, 08.12 AM IST
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ED conducts raids at premises of Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal
ED conducts raids at premises of Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal
MUMBAI: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday conducted multi-city searches at about 10 properties linked to Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal and his close associates, said sources aware of the development.

This is the first time the federal agency probing foreign investment in the defunct carrier’s loyalty programme has searched the embattled founder and his aides. The searches were made in New Delhi and Mumbai.

Besides Goyal, ED carried out raids at the premises of Hasmukh Gardi, who allegedly invested in Goyal’s Isle of Man-based Tail Winds Corporation that controls all financial activities of Jet Airways, the agency said.

“Gardi’s name was also revealed in Panama papers for holding fraudulent companies, (and) the source of the money invested in Tail Winds was from illegal activities. He now stays in Dubai,” added the agency.

As reported earlier by ET, the ED is also probing the possibility of an offence under the stringent Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) over alleged suspicious transactions found on the books of the airline.

Other than the Jet Privilege Pvt Ltd (JPPL) deal, the agency is also studying a tax evasion case of more than Rs 650 crore. “The searches follow the recent meeting ED officials had with the tax department,” said one of the above cited persons.

Further, ED is probing the lease agreements of Jet Airways and is specifically looking at the alleged misappropriation in the transactions between Jet Airways and an Ireland-based company.

“It was gathered that his companies executed several transactions under the guise of selling and distribution expenses. Commission and other fictitious expenses were booked at an unrealistically high price, thereby projecting losses,” said ED. “Jet Airways executed shady aircraft lease transactions with ghost offshores entities and has made payments toward lease rents to ghost companies, which in turn diverted said monies to personal fiefdom of Goyal.”

Earlier in May, senior executives of the airline were questioned by the ED in the JPPL deal case. The $150-million (over Rs 900 crore) deal with its strategic partner Etihad Airways PJSC’s in JPPL, the frequent-flyer programme of Jet Airways (India) Ltd, is under scanner.

(With PTI inputs)
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