Liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s staunch refusal to come back to India seems to have a definite fallout as the Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected Essar Group promoter Ravi Ruia’s plea to go abroad for business purposes. Ruia is an accused in the case related to alleged irregularities in the allocation of 2G spectrum in 2002.
“We have allowed a person to go abroad but he never came back. He was no less big than you in monetary terms. We don’t want to take chances now. We are now once bitten twice shy. We are not going to give liberty to anyone,” a bench headed by Justice J S Khehar said without naming anyone.
Since the final arguments in the case before the special CBI court was over and the judgement is awaited, it cannot allow Ruia to go abroad, the apex court said.
“We are sick and tired of such undertakings given by the counsels, and then your clients say, ‘We are not coming back. You can go to hell,” Justice Khehar said.
Ruia was earlier denied permission to travel abroad by a special court which said allegations in the matter were of “very serious nature”. This is the second time this year that Ruia has been denied travelling abroad for business purposes.
Ruia wanted to visit United Kingdom, United States, Canada and UAE for business purposes.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Ruia, said he cannot be allowed to suffer “if some Mr X has cheated the court.However, the bench responded that “it is because you are also similarly situated… He has also given the details of his assets and undertaking, but now he says I have sold my assets in India.”
Singhvi said that Ruia is an NRI and holds a residency visa of UAE and he has visited abroad 43 times for several reasons during the pendency of trial but never ever violated the bail conditions.
While giving details of Ruia’s businesses in various countries, Singhvi said his elder brother could stand surety for his return and can even go to jail if he does not return. Ruia was accused for co-conspiracy in the case arising out of 2G scam and facing charges under section 420 of IPC and not Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA), senior counsel said, adding that “my case is at a higher pedestal. I have never heard that he violated any bail condition. I have a better track record,” he said.
Special Public Prosecutor senior advocate Anand Grover opposed Ruia’s plea, saying Ruia was frequently filing such pleas, and did not disclose all the details regarding his travel plans. The CBI also said that if he is allowed to go, he may not return and it would be difficult to bring him back to India as he is an NRI.