The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday conducted search operations at more than a dozen locations owned by Jet Airways founder and ex-chairman Naresh Goyal. Those locations being raided by the law enforcement agency include several offices of the embattled airline and residential premises of Goyal across Delhi and Mumbai.
The searches are being carried out under the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) and are aimed at gathering additional evidence in connection with a case of alleged contravention of the foreign exchange law, ED officials told reporters.
The development comes hours after the Delhi High Court, early in the day, accepted Goyal's plea, seeking to withdraw his petition asking for permission to travel abroad. In the fresh application, Goyal said that the earlier petition was filed based on a urgent need to travel abroad and thereafter, he received summons from SFIO for recording of statement regarding the investigation which has been initiated.
The court had earlier orally observed that if Goyal wanted to go abroad, he should first deposit as guarantee Rs 18,000 crore his company owes to lenders. It had refused to allow him to go abroad but sought the Centre's reply on his petition.
The court was informed by the Centre that it was a serious fraud involving Rs 18,000 crore and the investigation was being carried out by the SFIO. Goyal also sought quashing of a look out circular (LOC) as well as several office memorandums which lay down the guidelines for issuing the travel ban.
According to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, the LOC was issued after an inspection by the ministry found large-scale irregularities in Jet Airways, which shut its operations in April due to acute cash crunch. The ministry has ordered a probe by SFIO into the affairs of Jet Airways.
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. Jet Airways, which was suspended temporarily on April 17, is, currently, undergoing resolution process under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.