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The Delhi High Court on Friday allowed Naresh Goyal, founder of the now defunct Jet Airways to withdraw his petition to go abroad.

Earlier this month, Goyal had approached the HC to withdraw his petition seeking permission to travel abroad. He had said that the investigation by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) in an alleged fraud case of Rs 18,000 crore was commenced and he was extending full cooperation and not pressing for the petition at this stage.

In that application, he said when he had filed the petition in July, he was in an urgent need to travel abroad and thereafter, he received a summons from SFIO for a recording of statement regarding the investigation which has been initiated.

“The petitioner (Goyal) is participating and fully cooperating in the investigation and has appeared before the authorities on three occasions.

“As the investigation has commenced and since the petitioner is extending full cooperation, he is not pressing the present writ petition at this stage for permission to travel outside India,” it said, adding that he be given liberty to avail appropriate remedies in future.

The court had earlier observed that if Goyal wanted to go abroad, he should first deposit as guarantee Rs 18,000 crore his company owes to lenders.

It had refused to allow him to go abroad but sought the Centre’s reply on his petition.

The court was informed by the Centre that it was a serious fraud involving Rs 18,000 crore and the investigation was being carried out by the SFIO.

He has sought quashing of the LOC as well as several office memorandums which lay down the guidelines for issuing the travel ban.

According to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, the LOC was issued after an inspection by the ministry found large-scale irregularities in Jet Airways, which shut its operations in April due to acute cash crunch. The ministry has ordered a probe by SFIO into the affairs of Jet Airways.

Meanwhile, properties of Goyal are being searched by officials of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a case of alleged contravention of the foreign exchange law. Searches are going on in twelve places in Delhi and Mumbai.

The ED has started an investigation into the alleged Foreign Direct Investigation (FDI) violations when Etihad acquired stakes in Jet Privilege Pvt Ltd in 2014.

Jet Airways stopped its operations indefinitely earlier this year because of its colossal debt, leaving thousands of employees without a job overnight.

The airline was under a Rs 8,000-crore debt and was struggling to stay afloat. Until recently, the airline was the second largest carrier in India by market share.

—India Legal Bureau

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