What’s in a surname? Ask Naresh Goyal

Jet Airways Chairman former Naresh Goyal. File | Photo Credit: AP
Vijaita Singh New Delhi 29 May 2019 22:10 IST
Updated: 30 May 2019 10:16 IST

The online system at the immigration counter spelt his surname as “Goel.”

A spelling error almost helped promoter and former Chairman of Jet Airways Naresh Goyal fly out of the country from Mumbai airport last week, but for an alert immigration official.

A senior government official said Mr. Goyal could clear immigration as the look-out circular (LOC) issued against him spelt his surname differently. The LOC issued on the request of Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) against Mr. Goyal’s passport number spelt his surname as “Goel.”

In a dramatic turn of events on May 25, Mr. Goyal and his wife Anita were deplaned from a Dubai bound Emirates flight (EK 507) when it was taxing on the runway and was about to take off.


The LOC was opened to stop Mr. Goyal from travelling abroad.

“When Mr. Goyal arrived at the immigration counter and his details were keyed in, the online system did not show the LOC against him as it had a different spelling of his surname,” said the official.

After Mr. Goyal had cleared the immigration, the official, recognising him contacted the central office to cross check if he was allowed to travel abroad.

“By the time the immigration official checked and got a confirmation from his superiors that an LOC existed against his name the aircraft was about to take off. It was recalled and the couple were deplaned,” said the official. Of the other agencies, immigration has the powers to recall an aircraft.

The airline, grounded since April 18, owes ₹8,400 crore to banks and the LOC could have been issued by MCA on the request of banks and lenders.

Last year, Home Ministry had empowered the heads of Public Sector Banks to initiate the process to issue LOC against wilful defaulters. Liquor businessman Vijay Mallya fled the country in 2016 when an LOC issued against by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was downgraded from “detain” to “inform only.”