Mumbai: Former Jet Airways promoter Naresh Goyal has filed a bail plea, asserting that all funds obtained through loans from banks were legitimately used by the company. Additionally, Goyal stated that there was no illegality in payments made to his family members, as they were all made through valid contracts.
On Friday, Goyal moved a bail plea, claiming that the Enforcement Directorate's (ED) probe aims to establish the siphoning of funds with ulterior motives, alleging that the ED has overlooked several other factors. The Enforcement Directorate has been directed to submit its reply to the plea.
Goyal refutes allegations
In his plea, Goyal refuted allegations that his family members received substantial funds from the airline through commissions. He stated, "The payments made to the accounts of the family members were on account of various agreements executed between the family members and Jet Airways Private Limited (JAPL), namely consultancy agreements executed with Anita Goyal and loan agreements executed with Nivaan Goyal and Namrata Goyal. Furthermore, it is pertinent to note that all approvals, appropriate disclosures, and statutory guidelines were complied with, and hence no criminality can be imputed to these transactions."
Goyal emphasized that "every single rupee of the money received from Canara Bank by JIL has been utilised for legitimate business purposes and is the subject matter of End Use Certificates from independent chartered accountants by JIL to Canara Bank. Thus, it is stated that the present case does not involve any proceeds of crime."
Goyal accuses ED of overlooking problems faced by airlines in India
Goyal argued that the Enforcement Directorate has overlooked the challenges faced by Indian airlines, particularly full-service ones. He cited a speech by Jyotiraditya Scindia, the Civil Aviation Minister, on the floor of the house, stating that all airlines at that time faced losses, and Jet Airways was no exception. He claimed that in the said statement, Scindia mentioned that the accumulated losses incurred by Air India on a consolidated basis from 2007-08 till 2020-21 were in the range of INR 85,000 crores.
Goyal contended that the reports of forensic auditors cited as key evidence to show money laundering cannot be the basis to claim fraud. "The Forensic Auditors have issued two reports, with one being on 7 May 2020 and the other one on 10 February 2021. In this relation, it is submitted that at the joint lenders' meeting on 8 May 2020, the members deliberated upon the first forensic report dated 7 May 2020 and observed that prima facie it appeared that there was no conclusive evidence of fraud finally established by the forensic auditor."