Jet Airways' founder & former owner Naresh Goyal arrested by ED

MUMBAI: Seventy-four years old Naresh Goyal the founder and former promoter owner of the now defunct Jet Airways was taken into custody under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) following a long session of questioning by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Mumbai.

He has been arrested in a money laundering case associated with an alleged fraud of Rs 538 crore at Canara Bank, in the case that stems from an FIR of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against Jet Airways, Goyal, his wife Anita and some former company executives in connection with an alleged fraud case at the bank. 

The FIR was registered on the bank's complaint which alleged that it sanctioned credit limits and loans to Jet Airways (India) Ltd (JIL) to the tune of Rs 848.86 crore of which Rs 538.62 crore is outstanding and the CBI had said the account was declared 'fraud' on July 29, 2021.

Earlier in the week the ED had conducted multi-city raids in connection with the money laundering case against Goyal and his associates of Jet Airways which is yet to resume operations after it went under insolvency litigation.

Sources in the investigating agencies say that they have concrete evidence of Goyal and his associates having siphoned funds that were taken as loans and used for purchasing personal property. They also claim to have proof that the Goyals have parked large amounts of money that was illegally diverted from Jet Airways to tax havens and will be producing all this evidence to the court while seeking their remand. 

Goyal, as per procedure will be produced before a special PMLA court in Mumbai on Saturday where the ED will seek his custodial remand to conduct further investigation into the matter. 

Started in 1993 by Goyal as its main promoter, by 2016 Jet Airways served 57 destinations, 37 domestic and 20 international destinations in 15 countries across Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East, however by 2018 it landed into trouble due to increasing losses and one year later Jet Airways' aircraft were grounded due to unpaid lease rates.

In March 2019, Goyal and his wife Anitha Goyal stepped down from the board of the airline and sometime later it suspended all flight operations, lenders to Jet Airways decided to refer the company to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) for bankruptcy proceedings with a debt of $ 1.2 billion.


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