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Court tells Naresh Goyal to deposit Rs 18,000 cr and then fly abroad

The lawyer for the SFIO had told the court that Jet is mired in a serious fraud of Rs 18,000 crore and investigations are underway
New Delhi: While pronouncing its judgment on a plea filed by Jet Airways former Chairman and founder Naresh Goyal seeking quashing of a lookout circular against him, the Delhi High Court advised Goyal on a lighter note to deposit Rs 18,000 crores and then go abroad. The lawyer for the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) had told the court that Jet is mired in a serious fraud of Rs 18,000 crore and investigations are underway.

HC seeks Centre’s view on the matter

On Tuesday, the Delhi High court also sought the Central government’s view on Goyal’s plea, while Justice Suresh Kait refused to grant any interim relief to the Jet founder. The matter has now been posted for further hearing on August 23. The court also remarked that the right to go abroad is limited. Justice Kait said that there have been several instances when people involved in cases of fraud have fled abroad and then the government had to spend crores of rupees to get them back.

What did Goyal plead?

The plea said that despite repeated requests, Goyal has not been given a copy of the lookout circular and claimed that his name has not been mentioned in the FIR, and hence he is “not an accused.” Goyal’s lawyer argued that his client had to travel aboard by July 10 to preserve his NRI status and meet foreign investors. Not allowing him to do so is a violation of his fundamental right, the lawyer said. To this, the court said, “Can’t investors be spoken to over the phone, digitally. Money can be transferred through RTGS and other methods.” Goyal was going abroad on May 25 for some meetings with foreign investors who had reportedly infused some interest in the defunct Jet Airways. However, he and his wife were stopped and asked to deboard.

The backdrop

The lookout circular was issued by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs against Goyal after an inspection by the ministry had found large-scale irregularities at Jet Airways. The beleaguered airline had shut down operations in April due to acute cash crunch. It is currently undergoing insolvency proceedings at the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).