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Jet Airways Founder Naresh Goyal Accused of Massive Fraud and Overseas Property Acquisitions

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Jet Airways founder, Naresh Goyal, has recently been apprehended on charges of orchestrating an elaborate scheme in collusion with other suspects to deceive Canara Bank by diverting bank loan funds through his subsidiaries and fabricating phantom expenses, as revealed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The ED’s investigation further uncovered that Goyal employed these funds for the acquisition of various overseas properties, notably in Dubai and the UK.

The ED asserts that Naresh Goyal illicitly rerouted the loan proceeds, consistent with findings in Ernst & Young’s Forensic Audit Reports, resulting in a staggering loss of Rs 538.62 crore to the bank. Shockingly, the investigation discovered Goyal’s involvement in recording questionable expenses totaling Rs 1,000 crore under the guise of professional and consultancy expenses. This amount encompassed personal expenses incurred by Goyal himself and his family members, along with undisclosed transactions channeled into the foreign accounts of the company’s promoters.

Jet Airways (India) Ltd (JIL) was also implicated in diverting funds to overseas entities located in tax havens such as Dubai, Ireland, and the British Virgin Islands, masquerading as General Selling Agents (GSA) commissions. These commissions were paid to related parties and entities linked to Naresh Goyal and his associates. Notably, the total exposure of JIL amounted to approximately Rs 6,000 crore, with the State Bank of India-led consortium as the primary lender, according to the probe agency.

Revelations emerged regarding agreements signed with various General Selling Agents (GSAs), where close relatives of Naresh Goyal and Anita Goyal served as directors. Out of the substantial Rs 3,000 crore disbursed as GSA expenses, a significant portion found its way to entities such as Jet Air LLC, Jet Air UK Limited, Jetair Pvt. Ltd., and Jetair INC. It’s noteworthy that Naresh Goyal holds a 15 percent stake in Jetair LLC, Dubai.

Earlier this year, on July 19th, ED officials conducted searches at multiple locations, including the offices of Chartered Accountants and Consultants who had received substantial payments from JIL over the years. These payments had raised red flags in the forensic audit reports. During the investigation, a trove of incriminating documents was collected, and Naresh Goyal was summoned on two separate occasions, but he failed to appear before the agency.

In a startling development, the former CFO of Jet Airways, Amit Agarwal, implicated Naresh Goyal’s secretary, Jennifer D’Silva, during his statement to the ED. Agarwal alleged that payments to dubious consulting and professional firms were approved by D’Silva with Goyal’s consent and without consulting Jet Airways’ finance department.

Upon scrutinizing Ernst & Young’s audit report, it was disclosed that a significant sum of Rs 9.46 crore had been disbursed to Naresh Goyal’s wife, Anita, daughter Namrata, and son Nivaan from JIL’s accounts in 2011-2012 and 2018-2019 for various purposes. This raised further questions regarding the use of company funds for personal benefits.

During Naresh Goyal’s tenure as the chairman of Jet Airways, the company diverted funds by advancing a staggering Rs 2,547.83 crore to JIL’s subsidiary, Jet Lite Limited (JLL), subsequently writing off the same by creating provisions. This questionable financial maneuver has come under scrutiny as part of the ongoing investigation.

In a bid to shed light on the acquisition and utilization of substantial wealth in the form of loans, the ED summoned Naresh Goyal on two occasions, first on August 17 and then again on August 30, demanding the production of documents related to these transactions. The investigation into this complex web of financial impropriety continues to unravel.