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Jet Airways bankrupt, Goyals under scanner, scion floats new company

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Sep 11, 2019, 10.21 AM IST
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Nivaan Goyal had, in the last few months of Jet’s operations, closely aided his father in trying to find a new investor for the company.

Highlights

  • Jet stopped operating on April 17 after running out of cash to stay afloat and failing to raise money.
  • Jet’s grounding left about 18,000 employees in the lurch and many of them have found new roles.
  • The Goyals face a probe by the ED on possible violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act in Jet’s deal.

MUMBAI: Naresh Goyal’s son Nivaan Goyal has founded a travel technology company, seeking a fresh path out of family’s troubles as his parents face government probes and their grounded airline Jet Airways awaits an investor.

The Goyal family scion, with his cousin Nikhil Raghavan, also a former executive at Jet, started Digital Blinc Technologies, according to documents filed with the Registrar of Companies under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. The company is registered in Maharashtra and was formed in June with an initial share capital of Rs 10 lakh, the documents showed. They listed Goyal and Raghavan as the first directors.

Raghavan announced the formation of the company in a Facebook post in August.

“I’m glad to announce that I have co-founded a tech startup called ‘Blinc Technologies’. Our first product is a really exciting play in the B2C (business-to-customer) travel space and is set to go live in 2020,” he said on the social network.

The company website lists Raghavan, the former head of innovation and technology at Jet, as Blinc’s co-founder and president. It lists services including online ticketing solutions, a cab-ride sharing application, a loyalty platform for earning and burning points and a digital payment system.

Jet, India’s oldest private carrier, stopped operating on April 17 after running out of cash to stay afloat and failing to raise money. In June, India’s bankruptcy court admitted an insolvency plea from its biggest lender, State Bank of India, after the airline repeatedly defaulted on loan repayments. A resolution professional appointed by the court is now trying to find a new investor for the airline.

The Goyals face a probe by the Enforcement Directorate on possible violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act in Jet’s deal to sell more than half of its loyalty rewards programme, Jet Privilege, to Etihad Airways. The ED is probing the possibility of an offence under the stringent Prevention of Money Laundering Act over alleged suspicious transactions in the airline’s books. It is also studying a tax evasion case of more than Rs 650 crore.

The ED is the finance ministry’s economic law enforcement agency. To be sure, Nivaan Goyal isn’t targeted in any of these probes.

Nivaan Goyal had, in the last few months of Jet’s operations, closely aided his father in trying to find a new investor for the company. Before that, he had been part of an internal business transformation team tasked with turning around the troubled airline. His close associates have said that in better days, he had broached the idea of travel technology in company meetings. He had proposed the technology would be owned and used by Jet. Those ideas didn’t come to fruition until now.

Jet’s grounding left about 18,000 employees and several top management executives in the lurch and many of them have found new roles.

Former finance chief Amit Agarwal has joined as CEO of JSW Steel Coated Products Ltd. The airline’s chief people officer Rahul Taneja has moved as group HR head at the Jindal Group.

Raj Sivakumar, former senior vice president for worldwide sales and distribution, has joined global business process management company WNS as senior VP and practice leader for the Americas. Belson Coutinho, senior VP for marketing, innovations and e-commerce at Jet, is now chief marketing officer at visa process outsourcing and technology company VFS Global. VFS also hired Praveen Iyer, Jet’s former senior VP, revenue management, as its chief operating officer, special projects, in Dubai.

Abhijit Dasgupta, VP of planning at Jet, has become head of network planning at IndiGo, the country’s biggest airline. Adam Voss, senior VP for engineering and maintenance at Jet, is CEO of South African Airways Technical.

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