The Supreme Court Friday dismissed a plea by beleaguered businessman Vijay Mallya challenging the proceedings in a Mumbai court to declare him a fugitive economic offender and confiscate his properties.
The apex court dismissed the petition for non-prosecution after the counsel representing Mallya submitted that he was not getting any instructions from the petitioner in the matter.
“The counsel for petitioner states that the petitioner is not giving any instructions to the advocate for the petitioner. In view of this statement, the petition is dismissed for non-prosecution,” a bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Rajesh Bindal said.
The top court, which had on December 7, 2018 issued notice to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Mallya’s plea, had refused to stay the proceedings on the probe agency’s plea before a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court at Mumbai seeking the ‘fugitive’ tag for him under the Fugitive Economic Offenders’ Act, 2018.
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On January 5, 2019, the Mumbai special court had declared Mallya a ‘fugitive’ under the Act.
Under the provisions of the Act, once a person is declared a fugitive economic offender, the prosecuting agency has the powers to confiscate his property. Mallya, who fled to the United Kingdom in March 2016, is wanted in India over default of Rs 9,000 crore that was loaned to Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) by several banks.
Mallya had moved the apex court in 2018 challenging the Bombay High Court order which dismissed his plea seeking a stay on the proceedings before a special PMLA court in Mumbai on the ED’s plea to declare him a fugitive economic offender under the new law.
”The application has been filed at the threshold and at a very premature stage when the lower court is still hearing the prosecuting agency’s request to declare him (Mallya) a fugitive economic offender,” the high court had said, making it clear that the special PMLA court would continue with the pending proceedings against Mallya on merits.
In a separate case, on July 11, 2022, the top court had sentenced Mallya to four months in jail for contempt of court, and directed the Centre to secure the presence of the fugitive businessman who has been in the UK since 2016 to undergo the imprisonment.
The top court had said Mallya never showed any remorse nor tendered any apology for his conduct and adequate punishment must be imposed to maintain the majesty of the law.
The top court had also imposed a fine of Rs 2,000 on Mallya, who was held guilty of committing contempt of court by the top court on May 9, 2017, for transferring USD 40 million (one million = 10 lakh) to his children in violation of court orders.