A Delhi High Court judge Friday recused himself from hearing a plea of former Jet Airways chairman Naresh Goyal, challenging the travel ban imposed on him. Justice Vibhu Bakhru, however, did not assign any reasons for recusing himself from the matter.
“This matter will have to go before another bench,” the judge said, listing Goyal’s plea for July 8, which also seeks quashing of the Look-Out-Circular (LOC), on basis of which he has been restrained from moving outside India. He has also challenged various memorandums issued to him by the Home Ministry since December 2017, which lay down guidelines for issuing the travel ban.
Goyal in his plea has said that the LOC has been issued without any basis and that the office memorandums are “bad in law”. Senior advocate Vikas Pahwa, appearing for Goyal, further apprised the court that, after they have filed the petition, the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) has sent them a summoning order through WhatsApp to appear on July 10.
According to Goyal’s plea, the LOC was issued against him on the request of the SFIO which comes under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA). Goyal said he came to know of the LOC on May 25 when he and his wife, Anita, were offloaded from a flight to Dubai with an onward connection to London.
Invoking his “fundamental rights”, the plea contended that no ECIR/FIR has been registered by any authority against him alleging commission of any offences warranting issuance of the LOC.
According to the MCA, the LOC was issued after an inspection by the ministry found large-scale irregularities at Jet Airways, which in April was forced to ground more than three quarters of its fleet due to acute cash crunch.
Naresh and Anita Goyal had resigned from the board of Jet Airways in March following a debt restructuring plan. He had also resigned as the airline’s chairman.
Jet Airways is undergoing insolvency proceedings, which is at the stage of calling for Resolution Plans by the Insolvency Resolution Professional. Meanwhile, the ministry has also ordered a probe by SFIO into the affairs of Jet Airways.
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