Ministry of Corporate Affairs moved a month ago to bar Naresh Goyal from leaving India
MCA had got a lookout circular issued fearing Goyals may leave India.
Amid high drama at Mumbai’s international airport on Saturday afternoon, the air traffic control called back an Emirates flight that was taxiing to take off to Dubai on a request from the immigration authorities.
Goyal and his wife, Anita, who had cleared immigration checks and were seated in the first class, were asked to disembark.
The couple were told that they were barred from travelling abroad and were requested to return to their residence, one of the people said, adding that the actions were in compliance with a lookout circular (LoC) issued on the request of the MCA.
Jet Airways didn’t respond to an email seeking comment until press time Sunday. Goyal couldn’t be reached for comment.
The MCA is probing the affairs at Jet Airways, which has grounded its flights following a financial crisis at the airline. According to the people, the MCA found several transactions in Jet’s book of accounts to be of “suspicious nature” and recommended a thorough probe into the affairs of the airline and the role of its former directors. Fearing that the Goyals might escape the country, it wrote to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) about a month ago to issue an LoC against them.
An LoC is a circular by authorities to check whether a travelling person is wanted by law-enforcement agencies. It may be used at immigration checks at international borders, like airports and seaports.
After several high-profile alleged economic offenders including Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and Jatin Mehta escaped the country, the government in 2018 empowered the Serious Fraud Investigation Office of the MCA and public-sector banks to keep a check on wilful defaulters by requesting the issuance of LOCs.
“Since the inspection report prepared by the regional office of the MCA mentioned that the role of the erstwhile directors was required to be probed in detail, an enquiry was made into the whereabouts of the former directors including the Goyal couple. It was learnt that they were in Mumbai, following which a decision was taken to write to the MHA for issuance of the LoC,” said a senior government official in the know of the details.