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Court directs Vijay Mallya to appear, cancels exemption

A Delhi court today cancelled the exemption granted to liquor baron Vijay Mallya from personal appearance in a case lodged for allegedly evading summons in connection with a FERA violation case.

Court directs Vijay Mallya to appear, cancels exemption
Vijay Mallya

New Delhi

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sumit Dass directed Mallya to personally appear before it on September 9. The exemption from personal appearance to Mallya was granted in December 2000 in a complaint filed by Enforcement Department (ED) for evading the summons issued to him by it.

The agency had issued summons to the businessman in connection with alleged payment of 200,000 dollars to the British firm for displaying Kingfisher logo in Formula One World Championships in London and some European countries in 1996, 1997 and 1998.

The agency had claimed that the money was allegedly paid without prior approval from RBI in violation of FERA norms. The order came on a plea of the ED, filed through prosecutor N K Matta, which had also sought issuance of non-bailable warrant against the Chairman of the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines to secure his presence in the ongoing trial of the case, which is at its final stage.

The agency's plea had said Mallya was reported to be in the United Kingdom and his presence in the ongoing trial of this case was essential and had sought the court's direction to him to remain personally present in every hearing. Matta had 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, 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 ED in response to the summons, a complaint was filed on March 8, 2000 before a court here and later on charges were framed against him under FERA.

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