Now, court issues open-ended NBW against Mallya

For 'summons evasion' in FERA violation case; court also asks ED to file a progress report within two months

Updated - April 12, 2017 05:24 pm IST

Published - April 12, 2017 02:03 pm IST - New Delhi

A file photo of Vijay Mallya

A file photo of Vijay Mallya

A Delhi court on Wednesday issued an open-ended non-bailable warrant (NBW) against beleaguered businessman Vijay Mallya for alleged evasion of summons in a FERA violation case.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sumit Dass passed the order after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) submitted that the NBW issued on November 4, 2016 by the court was not executed and it needed more time to do so.

An open-ended NBW does not carry a time limit for execution unlike NBW.

The court, which put up the matter for next hearing on November 8, however, asked the ED to file a progress report in this regard within two months.

While issuing the NBW on November 4, the court observed that he had no inclination to return and had scant regard for the law of the land.

It had said that coercive process has to be initiated against Mallya, as he was facing proceedings in several cases and evading appearance in those matters.

The court had also held that Mallya’s plea before the court on September 9 that he wanted to return to India but was “incapacitated” to travel as his passport was revoked by the Indian authorities, was “mala fide” and “abuse of the process of law.”

The court had said it had specifically noted that he could approach the authorities and obtain emergency documents to return to India but the situation was that he had not taken any such step.

To this, the ED told the court that Mallya had no intention to return to India and his passport was revoked due to his own conduct.

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

The exemption was granted in December 2000 on the ED’s complaint for evading summons issued by it.

The agency had issued summons to the businessman in connection with alleged payment of $200,000 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 the RBI in violation of FERA norms.

In its plea against Mallya, ED had also sought issuance of NDW against the Chairman of the defunct Kingfisher Airlines to secure his presence in the ongoing trial of the case, which is at the final stage.

The ED’s plea had said Mallya was reported to be in the United Kingdom and his presence in trial was essential. It had also sought court’s direction to him to remain personally present in every hearing.

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

According to the 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 the ED in response to the summons, a complaint was filed on March 8, 2000 before a court in New Delhi and later charges were framed against him under FERA.

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