Bombay HC to decide on Goyal’s bail plea on May 6

The Bombay High Court on Friday reserved its order in Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal’s plea seeking bail on humanitarian grounds in the money laundering case. Justice N. Jamadar to pronounce on May 6

May 04, 2024 12:02 pm | Updated May 05, 2024 12:11 pm IST - MUMBAI

File picture of Bombay High Court

File picture of Bombay High Court | Photo Credit: VIVEK BENDRE

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday opposed interim medical bail sought by Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal in a money laundering case. ED officials told the Bombay High Court that there is no medical report to show that 75-year-old Mr. Goyal is fit to be discharged from a private hospital, instead, his stay at a private hospital could be extended for a month.

The single judge bench of Justice N.J. Jamadar has reserved its order and said Mr. Goyal should not be discharged until May 6 from the private hospital where he is currently admitted and undergoing treatment. The court will pronounce its order on May 6.

In the hearing on Friday, Mr. Goyal’s lawyers, Harish Salve, Aabad Ponda and Ameet Naik informed the high court that Mr. Goyal has lost the will to live and that he and his wife, Anita Goyal are suffering from terminal cancer.

Terminal cancer

Mr. Goyal’s plea for interim bail is purely on medical and humanitarian grounds, lawyers representing Mr. Goyal said. Since his wife is in the last stages of terminal cancer, and has only a few months to live, Mr. Goyal should be allowed to be with his wife on humanitarian grounds as it will provide emotional support at such a distressing time, said Mr. Salve.

“We have seen the world enough to know what the mental state of someone whose wife is dying would be. The man has lost the will to live. He is not a youngster. While Section 45 of the PMLA Act is as strict as it can be, the provision is what makes it humane. To keep the applicant in incarceration and limiting his bail to stays in hospital where he cannot be with his wife, is a gross violation of basic human rights. Even prisoners of war are not accorded treatment that is so degrading and inhuman,” argued Mr. Salve for Mr. Goyal.

The plea also urged the court to consider his medical condition. “Consider the mental condition of a person who has been diagnosed with cancer. The wife has months to go. His wife, who has been given few months to live, can afford to have medical help but there is something called, ‘emotional support’. He is unable to decide about undertaking his own surgery at this age. Let him be with his wife for 1–3 months, whatever time God gives her,” Mr. Salve urged the court to grant interim bail under Article 21 of the constitution on humanitarian grounds.

In safe hands

Representing the ED, advocate Hiten Venegaonkar argued that Mr. Goyal is in safe hands and is receiving the best medical care from doctors of his choice. “If he is terminally ill and requires medical attention, his health should be the priority. No medical opinion suggests he is fit to be discharged. Even the trial court had expressed that his health would worsen if he was granted bail, exposing him to infections. His wife is taking treatment in the same hospital. There is no restriction on meeting her.”

Mr. Goyal was arrested in September 2023 in a money laundering case and his wife was arrested in November 2023. According to the ED charges, he laundered money and siphoned off loans to the tune of ₹538.62 crore given to Jet Airways by Canara Bank. His wife was granted bail by a special court on the day of arrest considering her age and declining health whereas, Mr. Goyal approached the Bombay High Court after his plea for bail in the special court was denied.

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