Monday, September 21, 2020

Mumbai court refuses ED’s intervention in Jet Airways police case

Mumbai: In a major setback for the Enforcement Directorate (ED), a local court has refused to allow ED’s intervention application seeking to be heard before the court decides on the closure report filed by Mumbai Police in the Jet Airways matter.

The two law enforcement agencies are at loggerheads with each after the city police in June this year closed a cheating case against Jet Airways, its promoter Naresh Goyal and his wife Anita.

In a first, following the Mumbai police clean chit, ED filed a protest petition before a local court faulting the Mumbai police probe stating that the city police failed to probe the details of the offshore accounts provided by the complainant, Akbar Travels of India Pvt Ltd (ATIPL). It also claimed that was evidence of money laundering and it is not a case of business loss as concluded by the police. The federal agency has asserted that the local police failed to even record the statement of the accused, Naresh Goyal which is a requisite of any criminal investigation.

ED’s counsel Hiten Venegaonkar argued that since PMLA is an evolving law, the scope of definition of ‘victim’ should be widened to include other ‘stakeholders’ who have an interest in the case. On the issue of locus standi (the right or capacity to bring an action or to appear in a court.), Venegaonkar contested that the federal agency is conducting a parallel probe permitted by the statute to investigate a subsequent offence stemming out of the preliminary offence.

Sources say the agency is likely to appeal against the lower court.

“Huge amount of money has been paid by Jet Airways to some of its group companies abroad by way of commission/reimbursement of expenses which are highly inflated, that it is, further, noted that said money is further diverted to personal accounts of Goyal and his wife Anita,” the ED has mentioned in its June application reviewed by ET.

“ appears that the police has completely ignored the issues raised in the complaint that Jet Airways and Goyal are having bank accounts abroad where money is diverted in an illegal manner and therefore, the assumption that Jet Airways suffered business loss is an eyewash,” the agency application reads. “ appears that Jet Airways suffered losses at the cost of enriching Goyal and his family members,” it added.

21/09/20 Rashmi Rajput/Economic Times

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