The Bombay High Court on Tuesday rejected the petition filed by Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal challenging his “illegal” arrest in a money laundering case linked to bank loan default, noting that the plea was not maintainable.
A division bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and Gauri Godse said the petition cannot be entertained and hence stands dismissed.
The court said it was open for Mr Goyal to avail of other statutory remedies under law.
Mr Goyal had filed a habeas corpus (produce the person) petition, claiming that he was illegally arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the case.
Mr Goyal, in his petition, claimed his arrest was illegal as it was done without following provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and also challenged orders of the special court which had remanded him in ED’s custody first and thereafter to judicial custody.
The bench in its order, however, 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 said.
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 high court 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.
Mr 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 Rs 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.
Mr Goyal, in the petition, 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, Mr Goyal, his wife Anita and some former company executives of the now-grounded private airline in connection with an 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.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)