Delhi High Court has refused to allow former Jet Airways Chairman Naresh Goyal from travelling abroad, saying that if he wished to do so he will have to make a deposit of Rs 18,000 crore in the form of a guarantee. This order of the Delhi High Court came against a plea by Goyal that he had the right to travel abroad and that he was an NRI.
The case has come about following Naresh Goyal and his wife being deboarded from a flight he was taking to Dubai in May. He was expected to reach London from Dubai. Goyalâ€™s appeal in the HC was to annul the Lookout Circular (LoC) issued against him that resulted in his being asked to deplane.
According to an Economic Times report, Naresh Goyalâ€™s counsel tried to tell the High Court that there was no case made out against their client at the time of his leaving for Dubai on May 25 and that it is only after deboarding the couple and upon the case coming up for hearing that the SFIO has asked Goyal to appear before it to assist in the investigations. Senior advocate Maninder Singh appeared for Naresh Goyal. The state was represented by Additional Solicitor General Maninder Acharya and central government standing counsel Ajay Digpaul.
The Court was not convinced by these pleas and has now set the next hearing for August 23. Meanwhile Naresh Goyal has been asked to assist the authorities in their investigations into allegations of fraud to the extent of Rs 18,000 crore. If he still wanted to travel abroad then he had to submit guarantees to cover this mammoth sum.
Goyal may yet approach the higher court, the Supreme Court in this case and obtain relief. However, even the apex court has been found to be taking a very rigid view on economic offenders, as seen in the case of Subrata Roy, the Head of the Sahara Group who was continuously denied bail till he agreed to the stiff conditions laid down by the SC.
Naresh Goyal founded Jet Airways and the airline saw many ups and downs before suspending operations in April. Goyal too, has since stepped down from the companyâ€™s board. The lenders to the airline have claimed that there have been many irregularities in the functioning of the company under Goyal. An investigation has been launched by the Serious Frauds Investigations Office (SFIO), which functions under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. The company is undergoing insolvency proceedings.
Goyal claims he needed to travel abroad to make arrangements for the funds needed to bail the airline out of its crisis, a plea not accepted by the HC.