SC refuses to stay declaring Mallya as fugitive

SC refuses to stay declaring Mallya as fugitive

Vijay Mallya

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to stay the proceedings initiated by the Enforcement Directorate to declare embattled liquor baron, Vijay Mallya, as a fugitive economic offender and confiscate his assets.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, however, issued a notice to the ED on a petition filed by him.

"Notice, no stay," the court ordered.

Mallya, represented by senior advocate F S Nariman, challenged the validity of the Bombay High Court's order of November 22 that had rejected his plea.

"The high court does not even look at the matter, saying the petition was not maintainable," he said.

Nariman, at the outset, admitted, "it is not a very propitious time". He may be alluding to Christian Michel, an accused in AgustaWestland scam, who was brought from Dubai by the authorities.

The promoter of defunct Kingfisher Airlines is also facing extradition proceedings in the United Kingdom.

He was aggrieved by an order of special court passed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act that had on October 30 rejected his plea for stay of the proceedings.

The Enforcement Directorate had invoked provisions of the Fugitive Offenders Act, 2018 against Mallya, who had evaded the authorities here after defaulting to pay back the loan of over Rs 9000 crore to the banks. He had been living in the United Kingdom and facing extradition proceedings.

The apex court had on July 14, last year refrained from passing sentence against industrialist Mallya in the contempt case as the Union government could not produce him, citing extradition proceedings. On May 9, the court had held him guilty of contempt of court.

He had earlier offered to pay back the principal amount of loan.