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Court dismisses Mallya's plea to stop trial

The Delhi High Court dismisses liquor baron's plea to dismiss criminal proceedings initiated against him by the Enforcement Directorate for an alleged economic offence.

business Updated: May 21, 2007 19:40 IST

The Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed liquor baron Vijay Mallya's plea to dismiss criminal proceedings initiated against him by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a trial court in New Delhi for an alleged economic offence.

Justice S Ravinder Bhat turned down businessman-turned-Rajya Sabha MP Mallya's plea that he had received only one summons from the ED seven years ago to explain his role in the alleged economic offence but forgot to respond owing to his preoccupation.

The court dismissed his petition trusting the ED's contention that it had sent Mallya four summons in September 1999 to interrogate him on his role in the case of Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) violation.

The case against Mallya involved payment of $1 million by his firm United Breweries to a foreign firm for promotion of the Kingfisher brand of liquor without the mandatory permission of the Reserve Bank of India.

Accusing Mallya of "wilful disobedience" of summons, the ED counsel argued that between September 15 and December 20, 1999, the agency had sent four summons to him on the same address in Bangalore and through the same mode.

But Mallya had refused to appear before the agency on one pretext or the other and did not accept the fourth summons.

This led the ED to file its charge sheet before the court of the additional chief metropolitan magistrate, indicting Mallya for contravening the foreign exchange law.

The trial court has fixed October 6 as the next date of hearing in the case.