New Delhi: If Naresh Goyal, founder of the cash-strapped Jet Airways, wants to go abroad, he should first deposit as guarantee Rs 18,000 crore that his company owes to lenders, the Delhi High Court observed on Tuesday while refusing to allow him to leave India. The high court however sought the Centre's reply on his plea challenging a look out circular issued against him.
The court was hearing Goyal's plea challenging the lookout notice against him on the ground that as on May 25, when he was de-boarded from a flight to Dubai, no FIR was registered against him. Goyal said he came to know of the look-out notice on May 25 when he and his wife Anita were off-loaded from a flight to Dubai.
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 NRIs 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 summons from the Serious Fraud Investigation Office to appear before it on July 10 and join investigation.
The high court asked the ministries of Home Affairs, Corporate Affairs and Law and Justice to file their responses within four weeks. It has posted the matter for further hearing on August 23.Goyal wanted to go to Dubai and London for the purpose of arranging funds for the Jet group which is facing a financial crisis.
"A restriction on Goyal's ability to travel abroad could result in him losing his NRI status. Moreover, on account of his NRI status, Goyal holds a UK residence visa and a UAE residence permit, which are due for renewal on July 10, 2019 and July 23, 2019 respectively, and therefore, he needs to urgently travel to the UK and the UAE before the respective dates to retain his NRI status and the visa/permit," the plea has said."Issuance of LOC which curtails the fundamental right to go abroad can only be done with a legislature enacted law... Executive action cannot be the basis," his lawyer argued.