Even as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday provisionally attached properties worth Rs 538.05 crore in the case against Jet Airways (India) Ltd (JIL) and its founder Naresh Goyal, the central agency in its prosecution complaint (chargesheet) said its probe revealed public funds worth Rs 5716.34 crore as total proceeds of crime (POC).
However, the central agency said as it had filed the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) based on the CBI’s FIR related to a complaint by the Canara Bank, alleging wrongful loss of 538.62 crore during 2011-19, it was restricting the proceeds of crime for the purpose of the present chargesheet to the said amount.
The agency sought from the designated court under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) a liberty to file supplementary or additional chargesheet in due course upon further findings into offence having “cross border ramification”.
The special PMLA court judge MG Deshpande Wednesday took cognisance of the prosecution complaint (chargesheet) as prima facie evidence of money laundering.
The central agency said one of the reasons for shutting down JIL was siphoning off the funds. “Despite several financial crunches in the company JIL, the director and chairman ignored the repeated advice by a professional working in the company and kept doing wasteful expenditure by making massive amounts to professionals and consultants from JIL based on his whims and fancies. Further the company also incurred expenses to various general sales agents (GSAs) in India and abroad, some of which were continued despite having null contribution in the revenue,” the agency claimed.
It added, “Since this amount obtained from different banks as loan was diverted and siphoned off in the garb of malafide professional and consultancy expenses, diversion of funds for personal expenses of Goyal family, irrational GSA commissions and their expenses, lending to related parties and subsequent writing off these loans etc, it resulted in turning the loan accounts into non-performing asset (NPA),” the agency claimed.
The ED claimed its probe revealed that JIL under Goyal used a similar modus operandi for all the consortium loans. “Therefore, the public money worth Rs 5,716.34 crore obtained from consortium of banks led by SBI and PNB is considered to be the total proceeds of crime (POC) generated out of criminal activities relating to commission of scheduled offences by JIL and its promoters,” it stated.
“Since offence of money laundering is a continuing offence having cross border ramification, it is quite likely that more evidence against the arrayed accused or any other person may be obtained and further investigation is underway,” the ED said and sought from court leave to file supplementary or additional prosecution complaint.
Also Read | From rags to riches to grounding: The story of Jet Airways’s Naresh Goyal https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-economics/jet-airways-naresh-goyal-8921423/
The central agency also named in the chargesheet Goyal’s wife Anita and four other companies, including Jet Airways (India) Ltd, Jet Air Pvt Ltd, Jet Enterprises Pvt Ltd and Jet Airways LLC Dubai.
Naresh Goyal is currently lodged in Mumbai Central Prison, popularly known as Arthur Road jail, and as per the ED, did not provide any documents pertaining to bank details and properties during the probe. The agency also claimed the Goyal family had a lavish lifestyle and indirectly received ‘obnoxious’ amounts of funds from JIL without contributing anything to it.
The ED’s case was filed based on an FIR filed by CBI in May on a complaint given by Canara Bank in November 2022, alleging that the loan amount given for the operational work of the airline company was used for personal expenses. The bank’s complaint was based on a forensic audit by an external audit company from 2011 to 2019. A consortium of banks had given loans to Jet Airways (India) Ltd for its operational work.