August 9, 2021 1:12:25 am
GRANTING RELIEF to Jet Airways and its founder Naresh Goyal, the sessions court recently dismissed an appeal filed by a travel company, Akbar Travels, against a lower court’s order accepting a closure report filed by the Mumbai Police in a cheating case.
The sessions court said that the dispute was a civil matter and because the police concluded the investigation in 19 days it could not be said that it was not done properly.
An FIR was registered with the MRA Marg police in February last year against Jet Airways, Goyal and his wife Anita on charges, including cheating, criminal conspiracy, forgery under the Indian Penal Code on a complaint by Akbar Travels. The company said that it suffered losses of over Rs 46 crore after Jet Airways began cancelling flight operations from October 2018.
In March, police filed a C-summary report stating that the dispute was of a civil nature and it had not found any substance in the criminal complaint so it could not continue with the investigation against Jet Airways and the Goyals.
In December 2020, a metropolitan magistrate’s court accepted the closure report following which a criminal revision application was filed by Akbar Travels. The travel company claimed that the police had carried out an investigation hurriedly within 19 days with key proof not gathered by investigators.
“There is no time frame within which an investigation is required to be completed. It is for the investigating officer to decide its schedule and on completion of the investigation arrive at a conclusion and file a report in the court. Merely because an investigation was completed within 19 days, it does not mean that the same was not properly done,” Additional Sessions Judge A C Daga said in his order passed on Friday.
The travel company had claimed that it had been in business with Jet Airways since 1994, which went on smoothly till October 2018. The complaint claimed that despite knowing that the airline was heading towards an eventual collapse, Jet Airways fraudulently induced Akbar Travels for an investment where the travel company booked tickets with the airlines and was paid a commission.
The complaint alleged that in November 2018 after a negative financial outlook, there were cancellation of flights by the airlines resulting in losses to Akbar Travels. In its complaint, the travel company claimed that the directors and promoters of the airline had siphoned off and diverted funds for personal use.
While deciding the appeal, the sessions court said that there was nothing to show that the travel company had been ‘induced’ by Jet Airways to enter into an agreement and said that it was a business deal between the parties. It also said that the annual reports of the airline from the year 2017 showed that they were running into losses so it cannot be said that they were hiding their financial condition. The court also said that claims made in the appeal that Goyal and his wife as directors had siphoned money were vague allegations.
The court also said that Jet Airways had complied with the agreement between the two parties till October 2018. “No one can foresee what will happen in the future. If respondent 2 (Jet Airways) was suffering losses, was not in a position to gain anything and therefore was forced to ground and cancel flights, then it cannot be said that they have breached the trust of the applicant,” the court said.
It added that the lower court’s order did not need any interference and was right in stating that the civil matters in connection with the airline were pending before the National Company Law Tribunal.
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