Vijay Mallya doesn't seem to be going through a good time as he seems to be running out of grounds and option in the ongoing trials in the Bombay High court. The Kingfisher Airlines owner is on the run from the government of India and is facing trial for taking away more than 9,000 crore rupees from a number of banks in the form of a loan and fleeing to the UK. In the latest development, the Bombay High Court, on Friday, asked the liquor baron when he would return to India and face legal proceedings
The news comes in after the businessman was declared a fugitive under the recently passes Fugitive Economic Offenders Act (FEOA). Mallya has taken exception to the orders of a special court, which declared him fugitive and paved the way for the confiscation of his assets. A special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court, on January 5, had allowed an application filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), seeking to declare Mallya a fugitive under the new FEOA law. Mallya’s lawyer Amit Desai spoke in his defence and stated that declaring him fugitive and allowing seizure of his assets would harm the welfares of his creditors. He even explained the bench of the offer his client had made, to repay the thousands of crores of rupees in loans, which he had borrowed from the banks. During the course of the hearing, Desai termed the FEOA as ‘draconian’ and any proceedings under this law would present prejudice in his case.
“Prima facie the fugitive tag is unconstitutional, especially because it allows the Union government to confiscate everything, irrespective of whether a property has been bought from the proceeds of crime or not,” Desai argued. The bench replied to Desai’s query by stating that the tag will go away once he is back in the country and ready to face trial. “This tag will automatically go away once your client returns to India and faces the proceedings initiated against him.”
“Even the confiscated property will be released if he comes back. So, when is it happening?” the judges asked. Responding to the query, Desai said Mallya too wanted to return. He cited a prohibitory order passed by a British court as a ‘hurdle’ for him in returning to India as the court has restricted his movements.
Reportedly, the bench was informed that the special PMLA court would be hearing an application of the ED for proceeding with the confiscation of Mallya’s assets, on March 13. Having considered the same, the bench has posted this matter for further hearing on March 12, with a direction to the ED counsel Hiten Venegaonkar, to file a reply by the next date of hearing.