Mounting troubles: Income tax dept inspects books of Jet Airways

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Mumbai | Published: September 20, 2018 5:10:35 AM

Sources said I-T dept began inspection at four premises of the airline – two of them are in the national capital and the other two in Mumbai.

The Income Tax (I-T) department on Wednesday began inspection of the books of Jet Airways for alleged falsification of accounts and suspicious transactions, sources said. (File photo: Reuters)

The Income Tax (I-T) department on Wednesday began inspection of the books of Jet Airways for alleged falsification of accounts and suspicious transactions, sources said.

The full service airline, which is financially struggling, is already under the scanner of markets regulator Sebi and the corporate affairs ministry for various alleged lapses.

Sources said the department began inspection of the Mumbai-headquartered airline’s books on Wednesday and is conducting the operations at four premises of the airline. Two of the premises are in the national capital and the other two are in Mumbai, they added. As part of the survey operation, tax sleuths only visit the business premises of a firm and check their books of accounts.

When contacted, an airline spokesperson said, “Income Tax officials are conducting a survey at Jet Airways’ office”.

The sources said that the I-T department is inspecting the books to ascertain whether there have been falsification of accounts, suspicious dealings and other possible violations.

Sources said an amount of Rs 5,000 crore has accumulated over the years (till 2013) before UAE-based Etihad made an investment in Jet that is attributable to various Jet Airways GSA operatives internationally and that is a possible target of the scrutiny. “This is nothing new and has been disclosed,” said a source.

Jet Airways that is going through one of its most challenging financial phases reported a loss of Rs 1,323 crore for the first quarter of this financial year. It had deferred salaries of a large percentage of its staff for August and September, which it is paying out in installments. The airline is on a cost-cutting and cost-saving mode, and has a turnaround plan that targets savings of at least Rs 2,000 crore over a couple of years. It has gross debt of Rs 8,424 crore with accumulated losses of Rs 10,772 crore.

Last month, the corporate affairs ministry had ordered an inspection of books and papers of the airline. Shares of the airline on Wednesday fell 3.67% to close at Rs 244.25 on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

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