New Delhi: A Delhi high court Tuesday refused to allow Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal to leave India and sought the response of the Centre on his plea challenging a lookout circular issued against him.
Justice Suresh Kait said no interim relief can be granted to Goyal at this stage and added that he may deposit Rs 18,000 crore guarantee if he wants to travel to a foreign country now.
The court was hearing Goyal’s plea challenging the look out circular (LOC) issued against him on the ground that as on May 25, when he was de-boarded from a flight to Dubai, no ECIR/FIR was registered against him.
Goyal said he came to know of the LOC on May 25 when he and his wife Anita were off-loaded from a flight to Dubai with an onward connection to London.
The high court has put up the matter for further hearing on August 23.
Senior advocate Maninder Singh, appearing for Goyal, argued that on May 25 when the couple was de-boarded there was no material to show any attempt to evade the investigation and they were NRI and required to go abroad for a certain period.
Singh said till the time Goyal filed the petition in the high court, there was no case against him but on July 6 when the matter came up for hearing, he received summon from the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) to appear before it on July 10 and join investigations.
He added that Goyal also wanted to go to Dubai and London for the purpose of arranging funds for the Jet group which was facing financial crisis.
The plea was opposed by Additional Solicitor General Maninder Acharya and central government standing counsel Ajay Digpaul, saying it is a serious fraud of Rs 18,000 crore and the investigation was going on by the SFIO.
The government counsel said Goyal must join the investigation and sought time to file a response to his petition.
According to Goyal’s plea, the LOC was issued against him on the request of the SFIO which comes under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
He has sought quashing of the LOC as well as several office memorandums which lay down the guidelines for issuing the travel ban.
According to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, the LOC was issued after an inspection by the ministry found large-scale irregularities at Jet Airways, which shut its operations in April due to acute cash crunch.
Naresh and Anita Goyal had resigned from the board of Jet Airways, which the former founded 26 years ago, in March following a debt restructuring plan.
He had also resigned as the airline’s chairman. Jet Airways is undergoing insolvency proceedings.
Meanwhile, the ministry has also ordered a probe by SFIO into the affairs of Jet Airways.