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Jet Airways Founder Naresh Goyal Arrested in INR 538 Crore Bank Fraud Case

Jet Airways Founder Naresh Goyal Arrested in INR 538 Crore Bank Fraud Case

Written by Sanjay Kumar

In a significant development, the founder of Jet Airways, Naresh Goyal, has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with an alleged INR 538-crore money laundering case. The case revolves around loans and credit lines provided to the airline by Canara Bank. Goyal is expected to be produced before a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Mumbai on Saturday (September 2).

The Basis of the Case

The roots of this money laundering case traced back to a first information report (FIR) lodged against Jet Airways, Naresh Goyal, his wife Anita, and several former company executives. The FIR was registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on May 3, following Canara Bank’s claims of an INR 538-crore fraud.

Allegations of Irregularities

Canara Bank had alleged that it had extended credit limits and loans amounting to INR 848.86 crore to Jet Airways (India) Ltd (JIL), out of which INR 538.62 crore remains unpaid. The CBI declared the account as “fraud” in July 2021 and accused Jet Airways and its founders of diverting funds.

The investigation revealed that between April 1, 2011, and June 30, 2019, the airline had spent INR 1,152.62 crore on professional and consultancy expenses. Suspicious transactions worth INR 197.57 crore were identified among entities linked to the airline, with key managerial personnel allegedly connected to these entities.

Furthermore, it was discovered that Jet Airways had paid INR 420.43 crore of the total consultancy expenses to entities whose business nature did not align with the service descriptions on their invoices. The FIR also alleged that personal expenses, including salaries, phone bills, and vehicle expenses of the Goyal family, were covered by JIL.

Questioning and Raids

Naresh Goyal’s arrest came after an extensive interrogation at the ED’s office in Mumbai on Friday. On May 5, the CBI conducted raids at Goyal’s premises and the old offices of Jet Airways in connection with the Canara Bank fraud case. Additionally, the ED had carried out searches at eight locations linked to Naresh Goyal and his associates in July.

Insolvency and the Jet Airways Revival

Jet Airways, once India’s largest private carrier, suspended its operations in April 2019 due to a severe cash crunch and escalating debt. Following a protracted insolvency process, the airline was eventually acquired by a partnership between UAE-based businessman Murari Lal Jalan and London-based Kalrock Capital in June 2021.

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