Jet Airways founder Naressh Goyal was arrested after following due process of law since he was not cooperating and was being evasive, claimed the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) while calling his arrest “legal”. The agency also claimed that Goyal’s plea was “false, frivolous, vexatious, bad in law and filed with an ulterior motive” merely to evade and escape legal custody.
The ED has filed a detailed affidavit before the Bombay High Court while replying to a habeas corpus (produce the person in court) petition filed by Goyal alleging that his arrest was illegal as it was done without following provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Goyal has challenged orders of the special PMLA court remanding him first to ED custody and then to judicial custody.
“The petitioner (Goyal) was highly uncooperative, recalcitrant, evasive and suspicious in his statements and conducts and, therefore, the arrest was made in order to proceed the investigation and trace the trail of proceeds of crime,” ED’s affidavit said.
Calling Goyal “mastermind” and “prime accused”, ED has said that he undertook transactions and incorporated shell companies for channelizing the proceeds of crime.
The money from the accounts of Jet Airways (India) Ltd was used for personal expenses by Goyal and his family members. During his tenure as the promoter and chairman of Jet Airways, Goyal had taken multiple loans from various banks, which remained outstanding over the years, ED has claimed.
The ED affidavit read: “Goyal along with his associates, through various entities, had diverted and siphoned off proceeds of crime to the tune of Rs 538 crore. Proceeds of crime was also used for his personal expenses such as salaries of staff, phone expenses and vehicle expenses which were paid by the company.”
Goyal siphoned off proceeds of crime to various companies, trusts: ED
The probe agency has further alleged Goyal had siphoned off proceeds of crime to various companies and trusts created by him in tax haven countries like Jersey and the British Virgin Islands (BVI).
The agency claimed that it had issued summons to Goyal on several occasions but he was evading them, which slowed the pace of the probe.
His custody was necessary for the purpose of investigation and to unearth the proceeds of crime, and hence he was arrested after following all the procedures mandated under PMLA, ED claimed.
The Jet Airways’ founder is influential, intelligent and resourceful and would tamper with evidence if released. The ED also refuted claims made by Goyal that he was detained by the agency’s officers in Delhi and then brought to Mumbai.
During that hearing on Friday, ED opposed the plea saying that it was not affirmed by either Goyal or any family member.
Goyal’s counsel Amit Desai sought permission from the court to amend the plea to include the affirmation.
The court had kept the plea for hearing on October 12.
Goyal is currently in judicial custody in Arthur Road jail here in a money laundering case linked to an alleged fraud of Rs 538 crore at the Canara Bank. He was arrested by the ED on September 1.