Immigration officials at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport on Saturday stopped former Jet Airways chairman Naresh Goyal and his wife Anita from travelling abroad. Sources said the couple was heading to Dubai on Emirates flight EK 507.
The flight was taxiing for takeoff when it was called back, sources said.
“The immigration department informed the ATC officials, who then asked the pilot to return. Officials boarded the plane and spoke to Goyal. He and his wife were offloaded along with their checked-in baggage,” said an officer, requesting anonymity.
Sources said Goyal and his wife Anita were restricted from leaving the country. “After they deboarded, they were taken away by immigration officers,” sources said. The flight, which was scheduled to take off at 3.35 pm, finally departed at 5.15 pm, said an official. A senior police officer said Goyal was allowed to go home since there is no case against him.
“Naresh Goyal was not allowed to leave the country. He has not been detained,” confirmed Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Barve. Asked why the Goyals were prevented from leaving the country, Barve said there was a Look Out Circular against the former Jet boss. “I cannot divulge further details,” he said.
However, a source in the immigration department at the Mumbai airport said there was no Look Out Circular, but they had been told to prevent Goyal and his wife from flying abroad ever since he stepped down as Jet Airways chairman and the airline discontinued its operations.
Terming it as a “precautionary measure”, the officer pointed out that in the past, some businessmen had duped banks and left the country.
Later in the evening, Emirates put out a statement: “Emirates is co-operating fully with the relevant authorities and we abide by the laws of the various countries we operate in.”
At the Goyal residence in Mumbai, a person who answered the phone said that Naresh Goyal was not available, and did not wish to make a statement.
A Jet employee, who did not want to be named, said Kiran Pawaskar, president of the All India Jet Airways Officers and Staff Association, had recently met the Mumbai Police Commissioner and asked the police to keep a close watch on Goyal’s movements.
But Pawaskar distanced himself from claims that the Goyals were stopped at his request. “If Mr Goyal was travelling for work on revival proposal and assessment, he should be allowed to travel. For this, I’ll be speaking to the concerned authorities tomorrow,” said Pawaskar.