In a setback to Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday dismissed his petition challenging his “illegal arrest” by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) in an alleged money laundering case related to a loan fraud of Rs.538 crore at the Canara Bank.
While dismissing the petition, a division bench of Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Gauri Godse said the petition cannot be entertained.
The bench, however, said it was open for Goyal to avail other statutory remedies like bail plea.
Goyal had filed a habeas corpus (produce the person in court) petition immediately after his arrest claiming that he was illegally arrested by the ED in the case. He contended that he was arrested by the central agency without following provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Goyal challenges orders of a special court
The Jet Airways founder also challenged orders of a special court, first remanding him to ED’s custody and then sending him to judicial custody.
ED had opposed the plea stating that Goyal was arrested after following due process of law as he was not cooperating and was being evasive. The agency also claimed that Goyal’s plea was “false, frivolous, vexatious, bad in law and filed with an ulterior motive” merely to evade legal custody.
‘Goyal is influential, intelligent and resourceful…’: ED
ED claimed that Goyal is influential, intelligent and resourceful and would tamper with evidence if released. It also refuted claims made by Goyal that he was detained by the agency’s officers in Delhi and then brought to Mumbai.
Goyal was arrested on September 1 and produced before a special court which remanded him to the agency’s custody till September 14. On September 14, he was remanded to judicial custody for two weeks. Goyal is currently in judicial custody and lodged at the Arthur Road jail.
Goyal’s plea contended that his arrest was arbitrary, unwarranted and done without the ED following proper procedure. He had prayed for an immediate release.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had registered an FIR in May 3 following a complaint by the Canara Bank alleging offences of cheating, conspiracy and criminal breach of trust by Jet Airways (India) Lt and Goyal in connivance with other accused to siphon of bank funds to the tune of ₹538 crores.
The ED registered its case based on the CBI FIR. The ED case involves a large number of banking transactions with high value cash withdrawals from funds related to loans obtained by the accused.