The Enforcement Directorate today told a Delhi court that despite its efforts, it could not ensure presence of fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya before it to face trial for allegedly evading summons in a FERA violation case. The agency informed Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Deepak Shehrawat about steps it had taken, including sending summons to Mallya’s office and residences and publishing notices in various newspapers about the notice seeking appearance in the matter.
The court has now posted the matter for December 22 when the ED may press for declaring Mallya a proclaimed offender (PO) since the court had already given him the last opportunity to appear today in the case.
The court had on November 8 initiated the process to declare Mallya a PO after ED’s Special Public Prosecutor N K Matta informed it that the open-ended non-bailable warrant (NBW) issued earlier against the businessman has been returned as unexecuted and the agency has no other option but to initiate the process under sections 82 and 83 of CrPC. The court had on April 12 issued an open-ended NBW against the liquor baron.
An ‘open-ended NBW’ does not carry a time limit for execution unlike an NBW (non-bailable warrant). On November 4 last year, while issuing non-bailable warrant against Mallya, the court had 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 liquor baron Mallya as he was facing proceedings in several cases and evading appearance in those matters.
The court had also held that Mallya’s plea that he wanted to return to India but was “incapacitated” to travel as his passport had been revoked by Indian authorities was “malafide” and “abuse of the process of law”.
Mallya, who is reportedly in London, had submitted before the court on September 9 that he wanted to come back to India but was “incapacitated” to travel despite “best intentions” as his passport had been revoked.
On July 9, the court had cancelled the exemption from personal appearance granted to Mallya and directed him to appear before it on September 9.
The exemption from personal appearance to Mallya 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 USD 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, the ED had also sought issuance of non-bailable warrant 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. 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 here and later charges were framed against him under