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Money laundering case: Bombay HC dismisses Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal’s plea against ‘illegal’ arrest


The Bombay High Court rejected the plea filed by Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal against his “illegal” arrest in a money laundering case. The court reportedly said on Tuesday that the plea was not maintainable.

According to news agency PTI, a division bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and Gauri Godse said the petition cannot be entertained and hence stands dismissed.

Naresh Goyal had filed a habeas corpus (produce the person) petition, claiming that he was illegally arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the bank loan default case.

In his plea, the Jet Airways founder claimed his arrest was illegal as it was done without following provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

He also challenged orders of the special court which had remanded him in ED’s custody first and thereafter to judicial custody.

In its order, the bench noted that the 74-year-old had not raised these grounds before the special court when he was produced by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

“None of the grounds i.e. non-handing over of a copy of the grounds of arrest, illegality of petitioner’s arrest, non-production before the competent court within 24 hours, were ever raised at the time of the 1st or 2nd remand of the petitioner,” the high court was quoted by the PTI as saying.

In the present case, it cannot be said that the remand orders are absolutely mechanical or suffer from the vice of lack of jurisdiction, warranting our interference in this writ petition, which seeks a writ of habeas corpus, it added. “The petition of habeas corpus is not maintainable,” the HC said.

The ED had opposed the plea and said the arrest was done after following procedure of law and that his custody was required as he was evasive and not cooperating with the probe.

The agency in its affidavit had said the petition filed by Goyal was totally “false, frivolous, vexatious, bad in law and filed with an ulterior motive”.

It added that the plea was merely an instrument to evade and escape the legal custody.

Goyal is currently in judicial custody and lodged at the Arthur Road jail here in a money laundering case linked to an alleged fraud of 538 crore at the Canara Bank. He was arrested by the ED on September 1 and produced before the special court which remanded him in ED custody till September 14.

On September 14, he was remanded in judicial custody for two weeks. Goyal in the plea said 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 (CBI) against Jet Airways, Goyal, his wife Anita and some former company executives of the now-grounded private airline in connection with an alleged 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 848.86 crore, of which 538.62 crore was outstanding.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Updated: 07 Nov 2023, 07:37 PM IST

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.