Vijay Mallya says he wants to return to India but passport revoked
New Delhi: UB Group chairman Vijay Mallya told a Delhi court on Friday that he intends to return to India but authorities have revoked his passport.
A trial court in Delhi was hearing a plea filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) seeking cancellation of exemption granted to Mallya from personally appearing before the authorities.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sumit Dass had asked Mallya to personally appear in court in connection with a case related to Foreign Exchange Regulation Act investigated by the ED.
Mallya allegedly made payments of over $2 million to a British firm for displaying the Kingfisher logo in Formula One World Championships. This case will be heard next on 4 November.
Mallya’s new stance comes a day after a consortium of banks has asked the Supreme Court to issue an arrest warrant against him.
The banks and the government have repeatedly insisted on a personal appearance by Mallya in previous hearings.
In a strongly-worded affidavit filed on Thursday, the banks have indicated that Mallya is wilfully defying court orders.
The banks’ contempt petition said that Mallya and his company, Kingfisher Airlines, have tried to sell assets to defeat the proceedings initiated against them before a debt recovery tribunal in Bengaluru.
In April, the apex court directed Mallya to disclose all the assets held by him and his family, after the consortium of creditors spurned his offer to repay Rs.4,000 crore to settle the debt of Kingfisher Airlines. He later agreed to disclose a list of assets held by him in India in a sealed envelope to the Supreme Court and requested it to not hand this information to banks.
The banks had moved the debt recovery tribunal against Kingfisher Airlines Ltd in 2013 for defaulting on loans. The consortium of 17 banks is owed a combined Rs.9,091 crore by the defunct Kingfisher Airlines. The banks have informed the court that they were willing to negotiate a settlement.
In a 13 March statement, Mallya claimed that banks had already recovered Rs.2,494 crore from Kingfisher Airlines since 2013.
Several cases by the ED and dishonour of cheque cases are also pending across the country against Mallya.
Meanwhile, Mallya’s defence of his passport being revoked is unlikely to hold ground, according to authorities seeking his return to India.
“An emergency certificate is always available to any Indian citizen wishing to return to India. Mallya simply has to apply to the Indian High Commission,” said a government official, who is aware of the developments in the case. The official did not want to be identified.
Elizabeth Roche contributed to this story.