Jet Airways and its Founder Naresh Goyal’s assets, amounting to ₹538 crores, have been seized by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The ED commenced a money laundering investigation based on an FIR initiated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) following a formal complaint by Canara Bank. This public sector bank accused Jet Airways India Ltd (JIL), along with its promoters and directors, of engaging in acts of cheating, criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, and criminal misconduct.
In an official statement, the ED reported that its investigation has uncovered evidence of JIL diverting the loans extended by a consortium of banks led by the State Bank of India (SBI) and Punjab National Bank (PNB). The agency has laid allegations of fund diversion at the feet of Naresh Goyal.
The ED’s statement reads, “Naresh Goyal orchestrated an extensive financial fraud, wherein JIL’s funds were systematically channeled under the guise of inflated General Sales Agent (GSA) commissions, substantial unaccounted payments to various professionals and consultants, loans granted to JetLite Limited (a wholly-owned subsidiary established for the acquisition of Air Sahara), and subsequent write-offs of these loans through provisions in the balance sheets.”
Furthermore, the agency’s investigation revealed that GSA commissions were inappropriately disbursed to Jet Air Private Limited (the GSA of JIL for India), Jet Airways LLC Dubai (the Global GSA of JIL), and JIL paid for the operational expenses of these GSAs. Significantly, all these GSAs were ultimately controlled by Naresh Goyal. Consequently, the management of JIL closely followed the directives of Naresh Goyal and continued to disburse significant sums of money regularly, despite these entities ceasing substantial service provision after 2009.
The ED also accused Naresh Goyal and his family of employing these funds for personal expenses and investment purposes.
Notably, Naresh Goyal was apprehended by the ED on September 1 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Subsequently, the agency has filed a charge sheet against him. Currently, he is in judicial custody and detained at the Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai.
Canara Bank has asserted that it had granted credit limits and loans to Jet Airways (India) Ltd (JIL) amounting to ₹848.86 crore, with ₹538.62 crore remaining outstanding.
The ED disclosed that Goyal had established various overseas trusts and utilized them to purchase immovable properties. Furthermore, he allegedly acquired movable and immovable assets both within India and abroad. The agency also contended that Goyal had appointed Hasmukh Gardi, a resident of the United Arab Emirates, as the power of attorney holder. However, Gardi has yet to respond to the summons issued by the ED.