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May 27, 2019

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Former Jet boss Goyal offloaded from flight

Indian Immigration authorities on Saturday stopped former Jet Airways chief Naresh Goyal and his wife from traveling to London, an official said, a month after the debt-laden company grounded its fleet.

Goyal was taken into custody at Mumbai’s international airport along with his wife Anita after authorities recalled the Dubai-bound Emirates flight as it headed to the runway for takeoff, a spokesperson for the immigration department said in a statement.

Officials gave no explanation for the couple’s travel ban but some media reports said they were allowed to leave the airport later.

Goyal is not under investigation but a number of high-profile businessmen have fled India over their alleged involvement in financial crimes, causing a massive public outcry.

Emirates said they were “co-operating fully with the relevant authorities.”

The 69-year-old stepped down from the company’s chairmanship and board in March following a debt restructuring pact with lenders as it reeled under a loan of US$1.2 billion.

Anita also stepped down from the board.

Once India’s top airline, Jet halted its operations after a consortium of lenders declined to pay emergency cash as they failed to find a buyer for a 75 percent stake in the carrier in April.

The consortium led by State Bank of India, India’s biggest state-owned bank, took control of Jet in March, pledging to give US$218 million in “immediate funding support” as part of a rescue plan.

But the lenders refused dole-out cash to the beleaguered airline that has failed to pay employees’ salaries since January, forcing hundreds on to the streets as some 20,000 staff face losing their jobs.

Bad investments, competition from several low-cost carriers, high oil prices and a weak rupee have led to Jet’s current financial predicament. Mismanagement has also plagued the airline. Analysts trace the start of Jet’s financial problems to its 2006 purchase of Air Sahara for US$500 million in cash.


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