Jet Airways founder siphoned off huge sums: ED

The Enforcement Directorate on Saturday alleged that Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal structured various tax-evading schemes involving its domestic and overseas companies to siphon off huge sums through dubious and fictitious transactions.

On Friday, the agency, under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), carried out searches in 12 office and residential premises in Delhi and Mumbai. These locations are linked to Jet Airways group and its erstwhile promoters, Mr. Goyal and his long-time associate Hasmukh Gardi.

“The search resulted in the seizure of various incriminating documents and digital evidence. The ED’s investigation under FEMA is based on complaints and intelligence inputs received from various sources,” said the agency,

According to the ED, Mr. Goyal’s business empire includes 19 privately-held companies, of which 14 companies are registered in India and five companies abroad. “Mr. Goyal also indirectly controls various entities abroad, some of which are in tax havens,” it said.

“Preliminary investigations indicate that Mr. Goyal has structured various tax-evading schemes involving its domestic companies and the companies in foreign tax jurisdiction, thereby siphoning off huge amounts in foreign jurisdictions…,” said the ED.

It is alleged that inflated payments were apparently made to some foreign entities under various airline lease agreements, aircraft maintenance agreements and under other pretexts. “Huge amounts appear to have been sent abroad by way of inflated commission to its own group entity in Dubai which acted as the airline’s exclusive overseas General Sales Agent [GSA],” said the agency.

The ED alleges that Mr. Goyal is likely to be the beneficial owner of some bank accounts abroad having huge deposits. “Prima facie, these transactions involve various violations under FEMA,” it said.

Source: The Hindu