Monday, September 11, 2023

Naresh Goyal's Interrogation By ED Reveals Hasmukh Gardi's Key Role In Jet Airways Funds Diversion Case

During Naresh Goyal's interrogation, the name Hasmukh Gardi emerged as a significant figure. According to Goyal, he had granted power of attorney to Hasmukh Gardi, who possessed extensive knowledge about numerous bank accounts both in India and abroad. Gardi also held detailed information about Goyal's movable and immovable assets in India and overseas, various agreements, and trusts, both Indian and foreign. Notably, Gardi was a promoter of Tail Winds Corporation Ltd, a company registered by Goyal in the tax haven Isle of Man island. Subsequently, Gardi assumed a directorial role in Jet Airways, a position he held for an extended period.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) disclosed that they had taken specific steps as part of their investigation to confront the accused with Hasmukh Gardi.

In connection with the Panama Papers leak, Hasmukh Gardi was linked to the ownership of 30 allegedly fraudulent companies. The source of the funds invested in Tail Winds, a corporation controlled by Goyal and associated with Jet Airways, raised suspicions of illegal activities. Gardi came under scrutiny by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) due to suspicions of conspiring with Goyal to siphon off funds.

During the ED's 2019 investigation into FEMA, it was discovered that Jet Airways was making excessive annual commissions to its General Sales Agent (GSA) in Dubai. This GSA was, in reality, part of its Dubai-based group company. These commissions exceeded permissible limits, and the funds were routed through multiple layers of companies. Gardi was a partner in Goyal's global sales agent (GSA) business and resided in Dubai.

The ED also found that Goyal had established various trusts abroad, allegedly using them to purchase several immovable properties. The funds for these trusts were suspected to have been moved from India to foreign locations under the guise of professional and consultancy expenses paid to various entities. Loans worth substantial sums were extended to related parties and subsequently written off by creating provisions. Funds acquired from different banks were directed into trusts based in tax haven countries, including the British Virgin Islands (BVI), and used to acquire properties in the names of Goyal and his family members in the UAE and London.

12/09/2023 Ashish Singh/Free Press Journal

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