Goyal moves HC to rescind plea against travel ban

Naresh Goyal, Chairman of Jet Airways (Reuters File Photo)

Naresh Goyal, the founder of the now-grounded Jet Airways, approached the Delhi High Court on Thursday to withdraw his petition seeking permission to travel abroad.

Goyal, in a fresh application, said the investigation by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) in an alleged fraud case of Rs 18,000 crore was commenced and he was extending full cooperation and not pressing for the petition at this stage.

The plea is likely to come up for hearing in the court on Friday.

Besides permission to travel outside India, he has also challenged a 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 has 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.

In the fresh application, he said when he had filed the petition in July, he was in an urgent need to travel abroad and thereafter, he received summons from SFIO for recording of statement regarding the investigation which has been initiated.

"The petitioner (Goyal) is participating and fully cooperating in the investigation and has appeared before the authorities on three occasions.

"As the investigation has commenced and since the petitioner is extending full cooperation, he is not pressing the present writ petition at this stage for permission to travel outside India," it said, adding that he be given liberty to avail appropriate remedies in future.

The court had earlier orally observed that if Goyal wanted to go abroad, he should first deposit as guarantee Rs 18,000 crore his company owes to lenders.

It had refused to allow him to go abroad but sought the Centre's reply on his petition.

The court was informed by the Centre that it was a serious fraud involving Rs 18,000 crore and the investigation was being carried out by the SFIO.

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 in Jet Airways, which shut its operations in April due to acute cash crunch. The ministry has ordered a probe by SFIO into the affairs of Jet Airways.

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.

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