NEW DELHI: A Hyderabad Court has issued non-bailable warrants against Vijay Mallya and defunct company Kingfisher Airlines’ Chief Financial Officer A Raghunath and directed that the duo should be produced before the court on 13 April.
The decision in this regard was pronounced by 14th Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate GS Ramesh Kumar.
The warrants were issued on 10 March after GMR Hyderabad International Airport filed a petition seeking Mallya’s prosecution for defaulting on payments and cheating the company by issuing cheques that bounced.
Mallya, who is currently in the United Kingdom and is being sought out in India over charges of money laundering, claimed in an e-mail interview with the Sunday Guardian that the banks gave him loans after evaluating all aspects, adding he is not trying to evade the law enforcement agencies but is on a personal visit.
The business tycoon said he feels that he has already been branded a criminal in the country and, therefore, it was not the right time for him to return.
“There was a lookout notice issued against me last year. But I didn’t ‘escape’. Why am I being portrayed as a criminal now? Loan defaults are a business matter. When the banks give out loans, they know the risk involved. They decide we don’t. Our own business was flourishing, but plummeted suddenly. Don’t make me the villain. I have the best intentions. I’m quiet because I fear my words will be twisted like of others,” he said.
The government had earlier told the Supreme Court that Mallya had left India on 2 March following which the bench issued notice to him and sought his response within two weeks on pleas filed by a consortium of banks seeking direction for freezing his passport and his presence before the apex court.
Meanwhile, the Congress has asserted that the liquor baron was ‘made to abscond’ since a lot of ‘powerful’ people would be in trouble if he opened his mouth.
Speaking to ANI, Congress leader Manish Tewari said that it was not as if Mallya had escaped or absconded but he was ‘allowed’ to leave the country.
“The reason why Mallya was allowed to abscond is because if he is investigated or if he decides to open his mouth, a lot of very powerful people in this county will be without their clothes,” he added.