New Delhi, April 12, 2017

The court asked the ED to file a progress report in this regard within two months

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

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sumit Dass passed the order after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) submitted that non-bailable warrant issued earlier on November 4, 2016, by the court has not been executed and it needs 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 agency to file a progress report in this regard within two months.

On November 4, 2016, while issuing non-bailable warrant against Mr. 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 Mr. Mallya as he was facing proceedings in several cases and evading appearance in those matters.

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 Mallya’s plea, that he wanted to return to India but was “incapacitated” to travel as his passport had been revoked by Indian authorities, was “malafide” and “abuse of the process of law.”

The court, on October 4, also said that it had specifically noted that he could approach authorities and obtain emergency document to return to India but the situation is that he has not taken any such step.

Mr. 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9 that he wanted to come back to India but was “incapacitated” to travel despite “best intentions” as his passport had been revoked.

To this, the ED, on October 4, told the court that Mr. Mallya had no intention to return to India and his passport was revoked due to his own conduct.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 Mr. Mallya and directed him to appear before it on September 9.

The exemption from personal appearance to Mr. 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 $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 RBI in violation of FERA norms.

In its plea against Mr. Mallya, 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.

The agency’s plea had said Mr. 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.

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

According to ED, Mr. 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 Mr. 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.

[The Hindu]