Jet Airways founder ‘illegal’ arrest plea rejected


The Bombay High Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition filed by Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal challenging his “illegal” arrest by the ED in a money laundering case linked to bank loan default. A division bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and Gauri Godse stated the petition can’t be entertained and hence is dismissed. The court stated that it was open for Goyal to avail other statutory remedy like bail plea. Goyal filed a habeas corpus (produce the person) petition in which he claimed he was illegally arrested by the ED in the case.

In his plea, Goyal claimed that his arrest was illegal as it was done without following provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). He also challenged orders of a special court which first remanded him in the ED’s custody and thereafter in the judicial custody. The ED opposed the plea and stated that the arrest was done after following the due process of law. It stated, Goyal’s custody was required as he was evasive and not cooperating with the probe.

The agency in its affidavit also said the petition filed by Goyal was totally “false, frivolous, vexatious, bad in law and filed with an ulterior motive.”
ED added, the plea was merely an instrument to evade and escape the legal custody.

Currently, Goyal is in judicial custody and lodged at the Arthur Road jail in Mumbai in the money laundering case linked to an alleged fraud of Rs 538 crore at the Canara Bank. He was arrested by the ED on September 1 and produced before a special court which remanded him the agency’s custody till September 14. On September 14, Goyal was remanded to judicial custody for 2 weeks. Goyal in the plea claimed his arrest was arbitrary, unwarranted and done without the ED following proper procedure. He sought to be released immediately.

The money laundering case stems from an FIR of the Central Bureau of Investigation against Jet Airways, Goyal, his wife Anita and some former company executives of the now grounded private airline in connection with the alleged Rs 538 crore fraud case at the Canara Bank. The FIR was registered on the bank’s complaint which alleged that it sanctioned credit limits and loans to Jet Airways (India) Ltd to the tune of Rs 848.86 crore of which Rs 538.62 crore was outstanding.