The Bombay high court has directed the union government to decide by Friday whether a United States-based aviation consultant, Avitas, can be roped in to sell absconding businessman Vijay Mallya’s luxury airbus to recover the dues that Mallya owes to the service tax Department.
The directions came after CJ Leasings, the company that owns the luxury airbus A319 and that had leased it to Mallya, proposed the name of the Virginia-based aviation consultant Avitas Inc, saying that the company has much “experience and enjoys worldwide reputation,” and thus, should be “involved in conducting the sale of the aircraft.”
While additional solicitor general Anil Singh, who represents the Union government submitted that the union has no objections to bringing an expert body on board and that it will be “worthwhile considering the involvement of Avitas either solely or along with any such entity that is named in the Guidelines or the Manual for such auctions,” he sought some time to consider the proposal.
HC has now directed Singh to take instructions from the government and make its stand clear by Friday.
On September 26 this year, HC had permitted the service tax department to recall the e-auction of businessman Mallya’s luxury Airbus A319 and directed CJ Leasings (Cayman) Ltd. to identify a “new buyer,” or a “competent authority” to facilitate the re-sale of the aircraft, and to apprise the court about the same.
The court is hearing a plea filed by the service tax department seeking to stay the high court’s August 22 order approving the sale of the aircraft.
On the last hearing, the bench had said that it could not allow the aircraft to remain stationed at the domestic airport indefinitely and that the government must take a decision on selling it.
While the service tax department had conducted an e-auction of the aircraft in August this year, it had moved the court seeking permission to recall the auction saying that the highest bidder at the auction had bid just Rs27.39 crore and this amount was “81.8 percent less than the reserve price of the aircraft.”