Deposit Rs 18,000 Crore, Then You Can Go Abroad: Delhi HC To Naresh Goyal
On July 9, the Delhi high court asked Naresh Goyal, the founder of the now grounded Jet Airways, to deposit Rs 18,000 crore to the lenders in order to travel overseas. The court was hearing Goyal’s plea challenging a lookout circular(LOC) which was issued against him. The court also sought the response of the Union government to his plea.
Goyal’s request to visit Dubai to arrange required funds for the revival of the airline was turned down by Justice Suresh Kumar Kait. Justice Kait countered Goyal’s request by saying the money can be transferred through RTGS from abroad. Kait said, “If you are ready to give Rs 18,000 crore bank guarantee, you can go (abroad).”
During the hearing, Goyal referred to the May 25 incident where he and his wife – Anita Goyal were deboarded from a Dubai bound flight. He said that at that time there was no case registered against him and there was no proof of him attempting to avoid investigation and evade the country. Mahinder Singh, representing Goyal said that since Goyal is a (Non-resident Indian) NRI since 1991, he is required to travel abroad from time to time.
Goyal claimed that he has to spend at least 183 days in a year abroad to avail income-tax benefits to maintain a residency visa in the UK and UAE.
Singh also mentioned that till the time Goyal filed the petition in the high court, there was no case registered against him. However, on the day of petition hearing, Goyal was summoned by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) to appear before July 10. Goyal’s petition mentioned that the LOC was issued against Goyal on the request of the (SFIO) which is under the ministry of corporate affairs after it found anomalies in the airline’s operation. The SFIO is probing the company and is asked to submit the report within six weeks.
Justice Kait refused to grant interim relief and scheduled the next hearing on August 23.
In March, Goyal stepped down and gave up the airlines control which he founded two decades ago, after the company saddled with Rs 8,500 crore in debt, defaulted on payments to banks and aircraft lessors. The airline which was shut on April 17 has total liabilities, including unpaid salaries and vendor dues, of over Rs 15,000 crore.