BENGALURU: The Karnataka High Court on Thursday ordered Vijay Mallya, who is now living in far-away London, to get himself back to India and be present in court on or before November 24 for charges to be framed against him for contempt of court.
The division bench of Justice Jayant Patel and Justice Arvind Kumar issued the direction, saying there was a prima facie case to frame charges against Mallya for violating his oral undertaking given before the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT), Bengluru Bench, in 2013.
Mallya on July 26, 2013 had given an undertaking before the Tribunal that he would not transfer, alienate or otherwise deal with his assets till the next date of hearing. He reiterated his undertaking before the DRT during its four subsequent hearings in August 2013, the consortium of banks have contended before the High Court.
Taking note of it, the division bench asked Mallya’s counsel to communicate its order to him, saying his personal presence is essential to frame charges against him.
The division bench’s order came in response to the contempt of court petition filed by the consortium of banks led by State Bank of India in 2014 with regard to the Kingfisher Airlines Limited case.
According to the consortium of banks, when the matter was still pending before the DRT as well as the High Court, they came to know through newspaper reports that Mallya had pledged 1,04,86,666 shares of UB Limited held by him and another 1,04,64,288 shares held by both himself and his son Siddarth Mallya to Standard Chartered Bank.
Referring to this, the banks argued that the pledging of shares was confirmed by the stock exchange and that it amounted to willful disobedience of the undertaking given by him, and that Mallya therefore be prosecuted on charges of Contempt of Courts Act.