Cheating case against Jet Airways, directors: Court rejects closure petition
Mumbai sessions court on Saturday rejected the plea filed by Akbar Travels of India Pvt Ltd (ATIPL) challenging the closure of a cheating case that they had filed against Jet Airways and its directors Naresh Goyal and his wife Anita.
In its detailed order released subsequently, the court has said there was no illegality, impropriety or incorrectness in the order. The court said that the magistrate court had properly quoted material on record and had given proper reasoning.
MRA Marg police had filed the closure report in March 2020, after probing the complaint filed by Rajendran Neruparambil, chief financial officer of ATIPL against Jet Airways and the Goyals.
Neruparambil had alleged that in 2018-19, Jet Airways owed ATIPL ₹46.05 crore. He further alleged that the Goyals’ had engaged ATIPL in business despite being aware of the financial crisis faced by the airline, which shut operations in April 2019 and had accumulated debt of nearly ₹8,500 crore.
After conducting a probe, MRA Marg police filed a closure report in March, having found no evidence of cheating; and sought closure on the grounds that it was a civil case. ATIPL had questioned the closure report and had filed a protest petition seeking re-investigation.
The magistrate court had in December 2020 rejected the protest petition of ATIPL and closed the case by accepting the closure report. Against the order of the magistrate court, ATIPL had moved the sessions court.
ATIPL had contended that ‘the respondents (Jet Airways and its directors) despite knowing that the company is heading for eventual collapses, fraudulently induced the applicant’s company to invest with them for their benefit and wrongful loss to the applicant company.’
The lawyers for Jet Airways had argued that there would not have been smooth business between applicant and respondent no.2 till October-2018 though an agreement was executed, which is in question dated April 01, 2018.
The court considering this held, “by no stretch of the imagination I can arrive at a conclusion that since 01/04/2018 the respondent No. 2 to 4 were having the intention to cheat the applicant and that’s why only has given an offer of incentive though they were aware that the respondent no.2 is running into losses.’
The airways had also pleaded that the matter about the financial disputes was before The National Company Law Tribunal. The court was informed that the NCLT has approved the resolution plan for Jet Airways.
Hence the court said, “once the Resolution Plan is approved by Hon’ble NCLT then immunity is given to company under the said act for an offence committed prior to commencement of said of resolution of the plan. As such considering the immunity given under section 32-A of Insolvency Act and Bankruptcy Code amendment act 2020, no case for any offence committed by the said company prior to Resolution Plan cannot be taken up.”