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The Hindu
The Hindu
The Hindu Bureau

ED conducts searches in Jet Airways case

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday conducted searches at multiple locations in Mumbai and Delhi in an alleged money laundering case related to Jet Airways and others.

The ED probe has been initiated on the basis of a First Information Report (FIR) registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), said an agency official.

In May, the CBI had instituted a case against Jet Airways (India) Limited, its then founder chairman Naresh Jagdishrai Goyal, his wife Anita Naresh Goyal and Gaurang Ananda Shetty, on a complaint from Canara Bank.

As alleged, the company had been sanctioned a working capital limit of ₹126 crore and inland letter of credit/financial bank guarantee limit of ₹100 crore. It was also granted a term loan of ₹400 crore for meeting operational expenses and ₹200 crore for aircraft reconfiguration, introduction of new routes, business promotion, brand building, etc, besides a short term loan of ₹17.52 crore.

‘Liquidity issues’

August 2018 onwards, the company allegedly started claiming that it was facing liquidity and operational issues. It could not service its payment/repayment obligations. On October 30, 2018, the lenders decided to invoke the inter-creditor agreement provisions and State Bank of India was appointed the leader.

The company was asked to submit a resolution plan and infuse ₹3,500-₹4,000 crore. However, as alleged, it did not meet the conditions and defaulted on payment of instalments as on December 31, 2018. The lenders then initiated a resolution exercise and the company was admitted under the National Company Law Tribunal on June 20, 2019. In April that year, Jet Airways suspended its operations.

Non-performing asset

The Canara Bank loan account turned a non-performing asset on June 5, 2019. A forensic audit for the check period from April 1, 2011 to June 30, 2019, later detected alleged diversion and siphoning of funds.

The FIR alleged that during 2011-18, about ₹14,552.44 crore was extended by Jet Airways as loan to Jet Lite and in return ₹13,529.62 crore was received. According to the bank Jet Airways transferred borrowed funds to subsidiary/group companies through various ways.

During the review period, ₹1,152.62 crore was paid for professional and consultancy services. Of these, alleged suspicious transactions worth ₹197.57 crore pertained to the related entities. Also, over ₹420 crore was allegedly paid to the entities whose nature of business was different from the service description in their invoices raised on Jet Airways.

Loan accounts involving ₹728.66 crore, including ₹538.62 crore with respect to Canara Bank, were declared a fraud, as alleged.

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