Thursday, February 2, 2023

Interim bail granted to Jet Airways promoters

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The Bombay High Court on Wednesday granted interim bail to Jet Airways promoters Naresh Goyal and his wife Anita Goyal.

The Court has also directed the State Bank of India (SBI) against taking any action against the erstwhile promoters, under criminal law till  further order.

The bench comprising of Justices S.V. Gangapurwala and Justice Madhav Jamdar have given two weeks of time to SBI for filing their reply to the plea filed by Goyals individually. 

Goyals were represented in court by Senior Advocates Dr Milind Sathe and Navroz Seervai and advocates Naval Agarwal and Ameet Naik briefed by Naik Naik & Co..

The RBI was represented by Advocate Aditi Pathak from Bombay Litigation and Corporate Company appeared for RBI.

While from CBI Advocate Rathina Maravarman appeared for the matter

The promoters Naresh and Anita Goyal challenged the SBI’s decision to club their accounts with the airline in the list of fraud account and moved to High Court for the same.

The petition which was filed through Naik Naik & Co. said that due to certain ‘wilful default’ by the airline in repaying credit, the airline was declared as a fraud account by the SBI thereafter proceeded to declare Goyals also as ‘wilful defaulters’.

The Goyals had challenged the decision of SBI on the ground that they were not heard, or even served with notice or a communication from SBI before such declaration.

The petitioners in the petition said “keeping in mind that the Jet Airway has already undergone a successful Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (CIRP) under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), they cannot be termed as having fraud accounts.

The lawyer representing Goyals claimed that under criminal law, there is no concept of vicarious liability and for any earlier conduct of the company, its promoters could not be compelled to face action.

Finally, the writ petition also challenged the circular issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) permitting banks to declare a company, and its directors, promoters as fraud accounts without giving them a hearing.

Goyals contended that  their name been included in the list when they were neither the borrowers nor guarantors could trigger criminal proceedings against them.

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