Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal (File Photo)
New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate, which carried out searches at the residence of Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal, has got details of 19 companies held by him of which are five are located abroad and how money was siphoned off to other countries through dubious transactions.
The ED has carried out searches at over 12 locations in Delhi and Mumbai including the office and residential premises of Jet officials. A senior ED official said the raids were also carried out at the residence of Goyal and his longtime associate Hasmukh Gardi.
The official said that during searches several incriminating documents related to the payments made to foreign companies and digital evidences have been seized. The official said the agency has taken up the investigation into alleged violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) against Jet Airways and Goyal based on complaints from various sources.
He said that the business empire of Goyal, who stepped down from the post of chairman of the airline in March this year, includes 19 privately-held companies of which 14 are registered in India and five are registered abroad.
The official said, Goyal "indirectly controls" various entities "abroad" some of which are in tax havens.
"Preliminary investigations done so far indicate that Goyal has structured various tax evading schemes involving domestic companies and the companies in foreign tax jurisdictions thereby siphoning off huge amounts in foreign jurisdictions through dubious or fictitious transactions," he said.
The official said that the fictitious or inflated payments appear to have been made to some of these foreign entities under various airline lease agreements, aircraft maintenance agreements, etc.
"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)," he said.
The official further revealed that investigations indicate that Goyal is likely to be the beneficiary owner of some bank accounts abroad having huge deposits. "Prima facie these transactions involve various violations under FEMA," he added.
A full-service carrier, Jet Airways shuttered operations on April 17 after running out of funds. Thousands of employees lost their jobs and the airline's slots and aircraft were leased out to competitors on a temporary basis.