Jet founder Naresh Goyal's Mumbai home was raided by Enforcement Directorate
The Enforcement Directorate raided the Mumbai residence of Naresh Goyal, founder of the now-grounded Jet Airways, late Wednesday night in connection with an alleged money laundering probe initiated by the agency.
The central agency, taking cognisance of a FIR filed by a travel company that has accused Mr Goyal and his wife, Anita Goyal, of cheating it of Rs 46 crore, has registered a ECIR against the Goyals and Jet Airways.
The probe agency, which is also probing alleged foreign exchange violations by Naresh Goyal and Jet Airways, recorded Mr Goyal's statement under a section of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
In September last year Mr Goyal was questioned by Enforcement Directorate officials for over eight hours after a preliminary inquiry, launched in early 2019, alleged provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) were violated after Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways invested $150 million for a stake in Jet, a loyalty and rewards management company formed in 2012 as a subsidiary.
Mr Goyal's role in the deal is believed to be the main focus of that ED investigation.
It is important to note that FEMA offences are not criminal in nature, unlike those under PMLA.
This is not the first time officials have raided properties belonging to Mr Goyal.
In August they searched 12 properties in Mumbai and Delhi, reportedly uncovering links between Naresh Goyal and foreign bank accounts with large amounts of money in them.
In May, last year Mr Goyal and his wife were stopped from travelling to London by immigration officials at Mumbai airport. A lookout circular had been issued against the two of them.
This came two months after the couple resigned from the board of Jet Airways. He also resigned as the airline's chairman.
Weighed down by debts of Rs 8,000 crore, Mr Goyal's Jet Airways stopped operations indefinitely earlier this year, leaving thousands of employees without a job overnight.
Until recently, the airline was the second largest carrier in India by market share. Operations were stopped after the State Bank of India-led consortium of lenders turned down a request for emergency funds.
Mr Goyal is also being investigated by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), which functions under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, in connection with allegations that the promoters of Jet Airways were siphoning funds from the airline.