SFIO probe likely into Jet Airways 'fund diversion'

Last Updated: Fri, May 10, 2019 10:33 hrs
Jet Airways

New Delhi: The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) is likely to ask Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) to probe the alleged fund diversion and writing off of investments by Jet Airways.

The fresh investigation follows recommendation given by MCA's Mumbai regional office after inspecting the airline's books.

In Jet Airways' preliminary probe, Registrar of Companies RoC (Mumbai) told the MCA that it has found violation of Companies Act and unaccounted investments, official sources said, adding the natural way forward is an SFIO probe .

IANS had reported on Wednesday that the RoC Mumbai had submitted a report and that appropriate action would be taken after its examination.

The SFIO will now look into Jet's written-off investments in various subsidiary companies and try to source where they have landed. The SFIO will also start the process for seeking personal appearance of the company's then top management in an attempt to find out why the company suddenly posted loss in the fiscal year 2018 after a string of profits.

The company had received fund infusion in the form of Etihad 's investments twice during the period. In his complaint, whistleblower Arvind Gupta had alleged that Jet Airways' promoters were trying to siphon Rs 5,125 crore from the airline's books.

The RoC Mumbai has completed the books' inspection of Jet Airways as part of its prelimnary investigation before turning to SFIO for a full-fledged investigation.

The RoC investigation was initiated last August after the company deferred its first-quarter FY19 results the same month. The RoC investigation followed a complaint by Arvind Gupta, who was also the chief complainant in the ICICI-Videocon case.

In the complaint, Gupta also alleged that the audit committee was unable to prevent the fund diversion. Jet Airways and JetLite brands undertook transactions with companies owned by promoters in the guise of selling and distribution, Gupta alleged.

The Income-Tax department in its February report had already found tax evasion of over Rs 600 crore at Jet Airways.

"There were some transactions concerning a Dubai-based entity, which were found to be of suspicious nature," an Income Tax official said on the condition of anonymity.

"Commissions were paid to this Dubai-based company, which were excessive in nature," the official.