A Delhi court issued on Friday second non-bailable warrant (NBW) against Vijay Mallya, chairman of the grounded Kingfisher Airlines, in a 2012 cheque bounce case following his non-appearance.
Metropolitan magistrate Sumeet Anand passed the order with the direction that NBW be executed through ministry of external affairs as the liquor baron is reportedly in London.
The court then listed the matter for further hearing on February 4 next year.
The court, on August 6, had also issued an NBW against Mallya saying that coercive steps were required to ensure his appearance.
The court had earlier noted that despite repeated orders, Mallya did not appear in the court and it was inevitable for the state machinery to intervene and ensure his presence.
The trial court had summoned Mallya as accused following a complaint by Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), which operates the capital’s IGI Airport, claiming that a cheque for Rs one crore issued by Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) on February 22, 2012 was returned to them a month later containing the remarks - “fund insufficient”.
DIAL had filed four cases in June 2012 against Mallya over KFA’s cheques totalling Rs 7.5 crore not being honoured.
The grounded airline had issued the cheques towards payment for services availed by them at the IGI airport in Delhi.
Mallya, chairman of the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines, is facing action after defaulting on over Rs 9,000-crore loan from 17 banks.
In July this year, he had skipped appearance before a PMLA court in Mumbai in connection with a money laundering probe against him in alleged bank loan fraud case.
Mallya had left the country in March and is currently said to be in the UK. Several cheque bounce cases have been filed against him.
Mallya, who is reportedly in London, had submitted before the court on September 9 that he wanted to come back to India but was “incapacitated” to travel despite “best intentions” as his passport had been revoked.
To this, the ED, on October 4, had told the court that Mallya had no intention to return to India and his passport was revoked due to his own conduct.
The ED counsel, advocate N K Matta, had opposed Mallya’s plea seeking exemption from personal appearance on the ground of lack of passport.
On July 9, the court had cancelled the exemption from personal appearance granted to Mallya and directed him to appear before it on September 9.
The exemption from personal appearance to Mallya was granted in December 2000 on ED’s complaint for evading summons issued by it.
The agency had issued summons to the businessman in connection with alleged payment of USD 200,000 to a British firm for displaying Kingfisher logo in Formula One World Championships in London and some European countries in 1996, 1997 and 1998.
It had claimed that the money was allegedly paid without prior approval from RBI in violation of FERA norms.
In its plea against Mallya, ED had also sought issuance of non-bailable warrant against the chairman of the defunct Kingfisher Airlines to secure his presence in the ongoing trial of the case, which is at the final stage.
The agency’s plea had said Mallya was reported to be in the United Kingdom and his presence in trial was essential. It had also sought court’s direction to him to remain personally present in every hearing.
Matta had earlier 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 charges were framed against him under FERA.