UBL chairman Vijay Mallya told a Delhi court on Friday that he was unable to remain present during the hearing of a case against him for allegedly evading summons in a Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) violation matter as Indian authorities revoked his passport in April this year.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sumit Dass had on July 9 cancelled Mallya’s exemption from personal appearance and asked him to appear before court.
Mallya, however, through his lawyer moved an application seeking exemption on Friday and said that to his “utter shock and surprise”, the Passport Authority of India revoked his passport in April without offering him a personal hearing.
His lawyer submitted the copy of an email sent by Mallya that said despite his “best intentions” to obey the court order, he was “incapacitated” to travel to India. He also said that he was making all the efforts to have the revocation set aside.
Appearing for the Enforcement Directorate (ED), advocate NK Matta, argued that Mallya had been evading court hearings in several other cases. The agency sought time till October 4 to file its reply to Mallya’s exemption plea.
The ED had registered a case under now-defunct FERA against Mallya and issued summons, directing him to appear before the agency.
It was alleged that Mallya had violated the FERA regulation in connection to a transaction with Flavio Briatore of Benetton Formula Ltd based in London.
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 on charge was framed against him under FERA.
According to ED, Mallya had allegedly paid $2,00,000 to the British firm for displaying Kingfisher logo in Formula One World Championships in London and some European countries in 1996, 1997 and 1998. The agency had claimed that the money was allegedly paid without prior approval from RBI in violation of FERA norms.