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The Karnataka High Court recently dismissed a review petition filed by businessman Vijay Mallya against a High Court decision upholding the direction of the Debts Recovery Appellate Tribunal (DRAT) Bangalore to deposit Rs. 3101 crore.
In March last year, the DRAT had directed Vijay Mallya to deposit the said amount as a precondition to maintain his appeal. Mallya had challenged this decision in the High Court, which on October 5 last year, dismissed his petition.
Mallya then proceeded to file a review petition against this decision of the High Court.
Appearing for Mallya, Senior Advocate KG Raghavan contended that certain significant events that happened between September and October 2018 could not be placed before the Court during the hearing of the writ petition.
During this period, Raghavan contended, Mallya had filed an intervention application in the High Court stating that on August 3, 2018, he had made a bona fide offer of Rs. 13,960 crore as final settlement to the consortium of banks he owes money. The non-reference to this fact in the order passed by the Court amounts to an error apparent on the face of the record, it was contended.
The Bench of Chief Justice Abhay S Oka and Justice Krishna Dixit declined to entertain the review, noting that not even a rupee of the proposed settlement amount has been paid by Mallya thus far. The Bench noted,
“…nearly a year has lapsed and nothing concrete has happened pursuant thereto, and not even a rupee has been repaid out of Rs.13,960.31 Crores “offered bona fide for settlement”; there is nothing significant in the contention of the petitioner as would warrant exercise of review jurisdiction in his favour.”
The Bench also enquired from Raghavan as to whether Mallya is entitled to invoke the jurisdiction of the High Court after maligning the Indian Judiciary during his extradition case before the English Courts.
“…the counsel replies that in the law relating to extradition, certain specific grounds were taken by the petitioner there, is true, but the allegation as such, is not; he hastens to add that there is nothing on record of this case at least, as would justify denial of relief to the petitioner on that ground per se; since we have held that the Review Petitions do not merit consideration, much is not deliberated as to the conduct of the petitioner before the Foreign Courts.”
With this observation, the Court dismissed the review petition for being devoid of merit.
Mallya is currently appealing the extradition order passed against him in December last year by the Westminster Magistrates’ Court in England.
While contesting the extradition, Mallya had cited the bias of the Indian press, the independence of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), as well as the concerns regarding the independence of the judiciary as reasons why he should not be extradited. The Magistrates’ Court, however, refused to consider these submissions.
Read the order of the High Court: