The Ministry of Corporate Affairs on Thursday ordered the Serious Fraud Investigation Office to conduct an inquiry into debt-ridden Jet Airways, Mint reported. The ministry said that seven firms belonging to Jet Airways group of companies need to be investigated, and that the report should be submitted within six weeks.
“Company was prima facie indulging into malpractices, mismanagement through siphoning/ writing-off/ diversion of funds and other financial irregularities, including but not limited to preferential/ related party transactions prejudicial to the public interest,” the ministry’s order said.
Some of the firms which will face an investigation include Jet Lite and Jet Privilege. The order is based on a report the Registrar of Companies submitted on May 8 that found violations of the Companies Act, 1956 of a serious nature.
The Serious Fraud Investigation Office subsequently issued a lookout notice for Naresh Goyal. Goyal and his wife Anita were stopped from flying out of India on May 25.
On Thursday, Goyal moved the Delhi High Court seeking that the notice be quashed. “We will oppose the quashing and in our response to the court we will highlight that as Goyal has no financial interest in India he may fly out,” a government official said. “He also has no collateral to recover back the debt of nearly Rs 15000 crore.”
Goyal and his wife had stepped down from Jet Airways’ board of directors in March. The airline had stopped flying all domestic and international flights in April.
On May 28, a Jet Airways employee consortium and the London-based AdiGroup announced a partnership to bid for a 75% stake in the debt-ridden airline through the National Company Law Tribunal process, PTI reported.
On June 20, Jet Airways had gone into bankruptcy after the tribunal admitted an insolvency petition filed by the State Bank of India on behalf of 26 lenders. This came after the lenders were unable to find a suitable investor and received only a conditional bid.