Mumbai: Jet Airways Founder Naresh Goyal Gets Personal Attendant In Hospital

Mumbai: Jet Airways Founder Naresh Goyal Gets Personal Attendant In Hospital

Court discards objections raised by ED, calling it unusual and unnecessary

Charul Shah JoshiUpdated: Thursday, March 21, 2024, 11:11 PM IST
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Jet Airways Founder Naresh Goyal | Vijay Gohil

The special PMLA court on Thursday allowed the founder of Jet Airways, Naresh Goyal, to avail the services of a personal attendant. The 74-year-old, accused in a Rs538 crore money laundering case, is suffering from cancer and undergoing treatment at the Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital. The court discarded the objection raised by the prosecuting agency, the Enforcement Directorate, calling it unusual and unnecessary.

"At every moment, even when the applicant is on stretcher or even attending his natural calls, he is continuously under the vigilance of the ED staff and escort party. Is this not sufficient?"

"By opposing a humane prayer in such an extremely unusual way, does the ED want to suggest the installation of CCTV cameras inside the toilet and bathroom of the room where the applicant is admitted and receiving cancer treatment?" Special Judge MG Deshpande observed in the detailed order released on Thursday.

Calling the ED’s approach unusual and against the constitutional rights of a person, the court said, “Currently, there is no male in his family to attend to him in the hospital. In such a situation, can his wife, who is at her last stage of cancer, care for him in the hospital? The same question arises regarding his daughter, to which the ED has no answer."

"The individual who has recently undergone prostate surgery and is being treated for cancer requires assistance from a male person to attend to his basic daily natural needs. Can his daughter or wife fulfil this role in the hospital? The ED has no answer.”

Goyal had pleaded to have a round-the-clock attendant to help him in the hospital. The plea was objected by the ED saying there was no requirement of personal attendant as necessary care and precautions were being taken care of by the hospital authorities. The appointment of private attendant would make it difficult to screen or discipline them and the graveness of the present case should not be neglected, it said.

Besides, the ED had alleged that the court had already passed numerous facilitating orders in the past giving due consideration to his old age and health condition, including access to home cooked food. Therefore, such liberties may be misused, causing severe hindrance to on going investigation conducted by law enforcement agencies.

The court pulled up agency for such remarks observing, that it had not challenged a single order passed by the court before the higher court. Besides, the court observed, "The ED seems to have forgotten that when the applicant was hospitalised for cancer treatment and considering his age of 75, utmost care was taken to ensure that any activity detrimental to the ED’s case did not occur. If such activity had occurred, the agency could have immediately reported it to the court."

"Therefore, pointing out any such activity on the part of the applicant, when the ED’s officers and staff are continuously monitoring the applicant 24/7 and have not noticed anything detrimental to their case, is impermissible. It is worth reiterating that the ED’s officers and staff are monitoring the applicant in the hospital 24/7. Additionally, the applicant is under 24/7 police escort vigilance. Is this not sufficient?”

The court told the ED, "His hospitalisation cannot be equated to conviction simply because the Enforcement Directorate has certain objections, especially when none of such objections or incidents allegedly detrimental to their case has been officially reported to this court by the ED."

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