The Chhattisgarh

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To Naresh Goyal’s foreign trip request, high court’s Rs 18,000 crore googly

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought to know the central government’s stand on a plea by former Jet Airways chairman Naresh Goyal seeking quashing of a lookout circular against him.

Justice Suresh Kait refused to grant any interim relief to Goyal while posting the matter for August 23 for further hearing.

According to the plea, on May 25, Goyal was going abroad 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 off-loaded from the aircraft.

The plea said that despite repeated requests Goyal was not given a copy of the lookout circular and alleged that his name was not mentioned in any FIR and hence he is “not an accused”.

The lawyer for the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) told court that it was a serious fraud of Rs 18,000 crore and the investigations are underway. He sought four weeks time from the court to file documents.

Goyal’s lawyer said that his client had to travel abroad by July 10 to preserve his NRI status and not allowing him to do so is a violation of fundamental rights.

The lawyer said the Jet Airways founder needs to meet foreign investors. The court then asked if the investors can be spoken to over the phone or by using any other digital platform.

“Can’t investors be spoken to over the phone, digitally. Money can be transferred through RTGS and other methods,” the court said.

In a lighter vein, the judge said that if he wants to go abroad he can do so by depositing Rs 18,000 crore.

The court remarked that right to go abroad is limited. Justice Kait said that at several instances, the person runs abroad and then the government has to spent crores of rupees to get them back.

According to the corporate affairs ministry, lookout circular against Naresh Goyal was issued after an inspection by the ministry found large-scale irregularities at Jet Airways.

Jet Airways shut its operations in April due to acute cash crunch. Naresh Goyal and his wife Anita Goyal had resigned from the board of Jet Airways in March following a debt restructuring plan.

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