New Delhi: A Delhi court today issued fresh directions to attach the properties of businessman Vijay Mallya, who was declared a proclaimed offender for evading summons in a money laundering case related to FERA violations.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Deepak Sherawat issued the order after advocate N K Matta, the special public prosecutor appearing for the Enforcement Directorate (ED), told the court that the agency had not received any reply from the authorities responsible for the attachment.
The court took Matta’s submission on record and posted the matter for further hearing on July 5. The court had on March 27 directed the attachment through the Police Commissioner, Bengaluru, and had sought a report by today regarding the compliance of the order.
The order was passed on an application moved by the ED seeking attachment of Mallya’s properties. The court had on January 4 declared Mallya a proclaimed offender for evading summons in a FERA violation case after noting that he failed to appear before it despite repeated summonses.
It had on April 12 last year issued an open-ended non-bailable warrant against the liquor baron. Unlike a non-bailable warrant, an ‘open-ended NBW’ does not carry a time limit for execution.
On November 4, 2016, while issuing a non-bailable warrant against Mallya, the court had observed 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 ad avoiding 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also held that Mallya’s plea that he wanted to return to India but was “incapacitated” to travel as his passport had been revoked by the Indian authorities was “malafide” and “abuse of the process of law”.
Mallya, who is reportedly in London, had on September 9 submitted before the court that he was “incapacitated” to travel despite “best intentions” as his passport had been revoked.
The court had on July 9 cancelled the exemption from personal appearance granted to Mallya on an application of the ED and directed him to appear before it on September 9. The exemption was granted to Mallya in December 2000.
The anti-money laundering agency had issued summons to the businessman in connection with the alleged payment of USD 200,000 to a British firm for displaying Kingfisher logo during the 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 of the RBI in violation of Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) norms.
According to the ED, Mallya was summoned on four occasions for questioning in connection with the contract signed in December 1995 with London-based firm Benetton Formula Ltd for the 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 the FERA Act.
Mallya, who had fled to the UK in March 2016, is also wanted in India for Kingfisher Airlines’ default on loans worth nearly Rs 9,000 crore and some other matters.