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Jet Airways founder, wife stopped from leaving India

MUMBAI, May 25, 2019

Indian carrier Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal and his wife Anita Goyal were stopped from leaving the country on Saturday at Mumbai airport, said local media reports, citing airport officials.
 
The couple was taken into custody by immigration officers, the Indian Express reported, citing sources.
 
Local media reported that immigration officials at Mumbai airport called back a taxiing Emirates Boeing 777 aircraft to stop Goyal and his wife from leaving the country.
 
The couple, who are non-resident Indians, were travelling to Dubai on an Emirates flight to attend business meetings, a source said. They were deboarded and informed they could not leave the country.
 
Earlier this month media reports suggested that the ministry of corporate affairs had been looking into Jet’s books and had asked for a corporate fraud investigation into the airline, suspecting that its promoters siphoned off funds.
 
Jet, which has a debt of over Rs 8,000 crore, shut operations last month, after running short of cash. Banks denied fresh loans as well, reported the Business Standard. 
 
Goyal's resignation has come under much criticism and unpaid employees have questioned why banks asked their chairman to step down and not release any funds.
 
Jet said at the time that it had complied with all regulations. The Goyals did not comment on the reports at the time, the report added.
 
According to sources, the couple was stopped on the basis of a look-out circular against Goyal. Later, they were allowed to go home and their passports handed over to them after the completion of formalities. 
 
“The immigration department informed the ATC officials, who then asked the pilot to return, following which an inquiry was conducted. Then, Goyal, his wife were offloaded along with their checked in baggage,” an officer requesting anonymity told the Indian Express.
 
The couple’s suitcases bearing ‘Priority First’ baggage tags too were offloaded. Sources said that Goyal and Anita were restricted from leaving the country. “The aircraft had reached taxiway when it was recalled and they were taken into custody by immigration officers,” he added.
 
The aircraft eventually took off around 5 pm after a 90-minute delay. In a statement, Emirates said: "Emirates is co-operating fully with the relevant authorities and we abide by the laws of the various countries we operate in."
 
Goyal founded Jet Airways in 1993 and was its chairman till he was asked to step down by lenders in March. 
 
Once one of India’s largest carriers, Jet was forced to ground all flights last month after running out of money and failing to secure funds, crippled by mounting losses as it attempted to compete with low-cost rivals, said the Business Standard.
 
The airline's grounding has left 14,000 employees without pay. The CEO and other senior executives have quit.
 
Lenders and strategic partner Etihad Airways are in discussions with the Hinduja group for a possible revival, it added.
 



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