Mumbai: Naresh Goyal grilled again

Mumbai: Former Jet Airways founder and chairman, Naresh Goyal was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for the second time on Thursday in connection with an alleged violation of the foreign exchange law.

Earlier on September 6, Goyal was subjected to a marathon grilling at the agency's Ballard Pier office.

Sources said that on Thursday, Goyal was summoned at around 11.30 am and the questioning went on till 6 pm. He has been summoned again on Monday, sources said, adding that the agency is also probing suspected money laundering instances against the former boss of the now-grounded airlines.

The grounded Jet Airways had secured Rs 9,000 crore in loans for the company, of which 25-30 per cent is suspected to have been misappropriated in the form of overseas payments and remittances to commission agents. A contentious transaction pertains to the payments made to a company in Ireland, which had leased out planes to Jet Airways.

It is suspected that inflated amounts were paid in the form of rentals to the leasing company with a purported intention of diversion of funds, which could invite action under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Sources said that Goyal purportedly held 19 private companies, including five registered abroad. It is alleged that his companies executed several transactions under the guise of selling and distribution expenses and other operating expenses.

It is alleged that Jet Airways had executed shady aircraft lease transactions with ghost offshore entities and has made payments towards lease rentals to those companies which in turn diverted the money towards his personal funds, ED sources said.

BY Debasish Panigrahi