Karnataka HC directs Mallya to personally appear before it on November 24

In another setback to liquor baron Vijay Mallya, the Karnataka High Court on Thursday directed him to personally be present before it on November 24 while holding that there is a prima facie case to frame charges against him for allegedly violating an “oral undertaking” given before the Bengaluru Bench of the Debt Recovery Tribunal in 2013 for not to transfer, alienate or otherwise to deal with his assets.

A Division Bench comprising Justice Jayant M. Patel and Justice Aravind Kumar issued the direction after hearing a contempt of court petition filed in 2014 by the consortium of banks led by State Bank of India in connection with Kingfisher Airlines Ltd case.

The Bench directed the counsel for Mr. Mallya, who is now residing in London, to communicate the order to him as his personal presence is essential to frame charges as he has now been arraigned as an accused in the contempt proceedings.

The banks have alleged that the “oral undertaking” was given on behalf of Mr. Mallya before the DRT on July 26, 20013 for not to transfer, alienate or otherwise to deal with his assets till the next date of hearing. Further, the oral undertaking was reiterated before the DRT four hearing dates in August, 2013, the banks pointed out.

When the matter was pending before the DRT and the High Court, the banks claimed, that they came to know through a newspaper report that Mr. Mallya had pledged 1,04,86,666 shares of UB Ltd held by him and another 1,04,64,288 shares held jointly by Mr. Mallya and his son Siddarth Mallya to Standard Chartered Bank. The pledging of shares was confirmed on verification with stock exchanges, the banks have said while accusing Mr. Mallya of wilful disobedience of an undertaking given during a judicial proceeding and sought his prosecution under the Contempt of Courts Act.

Observing that the violation of declarations made either in writing or oral during a judicial proceedings resulting in overreaching of judicial process and frustrating the right of the other side would amount to contemptuous act depending on of facts of each case, the Bench said that there is a prima facie case to proceed against Mr. Mallya for breach of undertaking given during the judicial proceedings.

As the undertaking was admitted, it has to be ascertained whether there was a breach of the undertaking affecting the sanctity of judicial proceedings, the Bench said.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 2:05:59 PM |

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