The government has ordered an SFIO probe into the affairs of now-defunct Jet Airways after finding instances of fund diversions and large-scale irregularities, sources said on Thursday.
Besides, the government would oppose airline founder Naresh Goyal’s plea in the Delhi High Court seeking lifting of travel ban.
The sources said Goyal is likely to be summoned by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), which comes under the Corporate Affairs Ministry.
Faced with acute financial crunch, the once-storied Jet Airways stopped operations in mid-April. With efforts to find investors failing to take off, the airline is now under insolvency proceedings.
According to the sources, the ministry’s inspection report had found large-scale irregularities, including diversion of funds.
The cash-strapped company became the first domestic airliner to go into bankruptcy after the Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) admitted an insolvency petition filed by SBI on behalf of 26 lenders on June 20.
Naresh Goyal moves court seeking lifting of travel ban; govt to oppose plea
Embattled Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal has challenged the travel ban imposed on him and the plea is to be heard in the Delhi High Court on Friday, which officials said will be opposed vehemently by the government.
There is a Look Out Circular (LOC) issued against Goyal after an inspection by the Corporate Affairs Ministry found large-scale irregularities at Jet Airways, which shuttered operations in April due to acute cash crunch.
On May 25, Goyal and his wife Anita Goyal were stopped from leaving the country by immigration authorities at Mumbai airport minutes before their aircraft was about to take off for London via Dubai.
The officials said the ministry would vehemently oppose Goyal’s plea seeking permission to travel abroad, especially considering the public interest involved.
Thousands of the airline’s employees have not been paid their salaries and the banks have also been left high and dry. Against this backdrop, the ministry would oppose Goyal’s plea, the officials added.
Goyal’s plea is to be heard on Friday by Justice Vibhu Bakhru.
A Look Out Circular is issued against a person directing the immigration authorities to ensure that he or she does not leave India through an airport or a seaport.
Naresh and Anita Goyal had resigned from the board of Jet Airways, which the former founded 26 years ago, in March following a debt restructuring plan. He had also resigned as the airline’s chairman.