After nearly four months in custody at Arthur Road Prison, the founder of Jet Airways (JAI, Mumbai International) told a Mumbai court on January 6 that he was preparing to die in jail.

At a bail hearing, a physically unwell 75-year-old Naresh Goyal told the specially convened court that it was “better [to] die rather than be alive in such a situation. Destiny will rescue me."

Goyal is accused of a INR5.38 billion rupee (USD64.7 million) fraud against several Indian banks, including Bangalore-based Canara Bank, the now-defunct Punjab National Bank, and State Bank of India and has been charged with offences under the country's Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). As previously reported by ch-aviation, it is alleged that he and other family members diverted funds borrowed to finance Jet Airways businesses while serving as directors at the LCC.

Jet Airways ceased operations in April 2019 with around USD1.2 billion in debts. At the time, measured by market share, it was India's second-largest carrier. Nearly four years later, the ramifications of the collapse continue for former employees, creditors, suppliers, and the broader Indian aviation industry.

Since then, law enforcement agencies have targeted Goyal and his wife. However, until mid-2023, the duo enjoyed a series of legal wins. In May, India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) upped the ante, raiding the homes and workplaces of the Goyals and briefing local media on the allegations. On September 1, police arrested him. The court denied him bail, with the police saying he had been evasive and misleading and that they needed to know his whereabouts for further questioning and investigation. ch-aviation does not say any allegations made against Naresh Goyal are true, only that they have been made. During his prime around 20 years ago, he was one of the richest men in India, worth an estimated USD1.9 billion.

"Don't send him to J.J. Hospital and allow him to die in the jail itself," his lawyer's submissions to Judge MG Deshpande read.

Goyal is reportedly suffering from several medical ailments that are exacerbated by the standard of health care in India's prison system. Previous bail applications have failed, but at the weekend the judge expressed some sympathy for his state and will continue hearing the bail application on January 16.