The Enforcement Directorate on Saturday alleged that Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal structured a number of tax evading schemes, and said investigations indicated that Goyal is the likely owner of some bank accounts abroad having huge deposits, PTI reported.
This came a day after the probe agency conducted searches at Goyal’s properties in Mumbai and Delhi in connection with a case of alleged contravention of foreign exchange law.
“The search resulted in the seizure of various incriminating documents and digital evidences,” ED said in a statement. “Further investigation and analysis of the seized documents is going on.”
The agency said preliminary probe “indicates that Goyal structured various tax evading schemes involving its domestic and foreign companies, thereby siphoning off huge amount in foreign jurisdictions through dubious or fictitious transactions”.
It said Goyal “indirectly” controlled various entities abroad, some of which are in tax haven nations and he was “likely to be” the beneficial owner of some bank accounts abroad having huge amounts.
“Fictitious and inflated payments appear to have been made to some of these foreign entities under various airline lease agreements, aircraft maintenance agreements, among others,” the statement said. “Huge amounts appear to have been sent abroad by way of inflated commission to its own group entity in Dubai which acted as airline’s exclusive overseas general sales agent,” the ED alleged.
“Prima facie these transactions involve various violations under the Foreign Exchange Management Act,” the statement added.
The ED said the business empire of Goyal included 19 privately-held companies, of which 14 companies are registered in India and five companies are registered outside the country.
The charge of undisclosed assets abroad could reportedly lead the agency to charge Goyal under anti-money laundering law in the coming days.
The directorate has started a preliminary investigation into the alleged Foreign Direct Investment violations when airline company Etihad acquired stakes in Jet Privilege Private Limited in 2014.
In June, Jet Airways (India) Ltd was referred to the National Company Law Tribunal for bankruptcy proceedings. The decision was taken after the company’s lenders were unable to find a suitable investor and received only a conditional bid. Jet first defaulted on loan repayment in January. Since then, negotiations were on between the banks, Goyal, and the company’s strategic partner Etihad Airways to invest in the airline.
Goyal and his wife Anita Goyal resigned from the airline’s board of directors in March. On April 17, the carrier decided to temporarily suspend all domestic and international operations. The decision was taken after its lenders declined to provide emergency funds.
Now, follow and debate the day’s most significant stories on Scroll Exchange.