Mallya says to court he is unable to return to India because passport is suspended

Mallya made the submission through his counsel in a case lodged for allegedly evading summons.

Published: 09th September 2016 09:00 PM  |   Last Updated: 09th September 2016 09:00 PM   |  A+A-

PTI-Mallya-Kingfisher

UB Group Chairman Vijay Mallya |PTI

NEW DELHI: Business tycoon Vijay Mallya on Friday told a city court that he wants to come to India but is unable to return as his passport has been suspended by Indian authorities. Mallya made the submission through his counsel before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate in a case lodged for allegedly evading summons in connection with a Foreign Exchange Regulation Act violation matter. The case pertains to alleged payment of 200,000 dollars to a British firm for displaying Kingfisher logo in Formula One World Championships in London and some European countries in 1996, 1997 and 1998. It had claimed that the money was allegedly paid without prior approval from RBI in violation of FERA norms.

On July 9, the court had cancelled the exemption from personal appearance granted to him and had directed him to appear before it.

Senior advocate Ramesh Gupta moved application of Mallya requesting the court that some time should given so that his appearance can be secured. Gupta also submitted the copy of an email sent by Mallya, stating that his passport was suspended on April 23, 2016 without giving him any opportunity of being heard.

But Enforcement Directorate told the court that Mallya is already evading proceedings in several other cases and sought time to reply to the plea moved by him. The court has now put up the matter for further hearing on October 4.

The agency had issued summons to Mallya in connection with alleged payment of 200,000 dollars to a British firm for displaying Kingfisher logo in Formula One World Championships in London and some European countries in 1996, 1997 and 1998.

They agency had also sought issuance of non-bailable warrant against the Chairman of the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines to secure his presence in the ongoing trial of the case, which is at its final stage. The agency's plea had said Mallya was reported to be in the United Kingdom and his presence in the trial was essential and had sought court's direction to him to remain personally present in every hearing.

Matta had argued that the court should recall its December 2000 exemption order as a PMLA court in Mumbai has recently issued an open-ended warrant against him in connection with a money laundering case.

According to ED, Mallya was summoned on four occasions for questioning in connection with a contract signed in December 1995 with London-based firm Benetton Formula Ltd for promotion of the Kingfisher brand abroad.

When Mallya failed to appear before ED in response to the summons, a complaint was filed on March 8, 2000 before a court here and later on charges were framed against him under FERA.

Last week in another case against Mallya, the agency had attached properties worth Rs 6,630 crore in connection with an alleged loan default of Rs 6,027 crore availed from a consortium of nationalised banks led by SBI.  The total attachment made by the agency in this case has now shot up to Rs 8,044 crore as it had attached assets worth Rs 1,411 crore few months back.

ED had also recently filed a fresh PMLA case against Mallya and his associates after it booked him earlier under the criminal law in a case of similar alleged bank loan default of Rs 900 crore against IDBI bank.

The CBI also, early last month, filed this fresh case under IPC sections related to criminal conspiracy and cheating against Mallya on the basis of a complaint received from SBI on behalf of the consortium of lenders for allegedly causing a loss of Rs 6,027 crore to them by not keeping repayment commitments of loan taken during 2005-10.

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