Hyderabad: In more trouble for Vijay Mallya, a Hyderabad court has issued a non-bailable warrant against the beleaguered businessman after he failed to appear before it in a cheque dishonour case amid reports today that quoted him as having said the time is not "right" for his return to India.
The court order in the case of alleged dishonour of a Rs 50 lakh cheque to GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd came even as Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said a probe will be launched to check whether there were any anomalies in the Provident Fund(PF) contributions made by Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines for its employees when it was functioning.
Mallya, 60, is facing multiple proceedings for allegedly defaulting on loans of over Rs 9,000 crore from various banks. His departure from India on March 2 unhindered in the middle of the probes also triggered a political row.
Amid the row involving Mallya, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said "full force of the law" is being applied to bring all wilful loan defaulters to justice. He, however, did not name anyone.
The 14th Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) in Hyderabad issued the NBWs on March 10 against the company (airline), Mallya and another senior official of the carrier and posted the matter to April 13. The counsel for Mallya said he will move the high court seeking quashing of the non-bailable warrant.
GMR counsel G Ashok Reddy said "He (Mallya) and others were supposed to appear before the court on March 10. They did not appear...hence, court issued NBW order which has to be executed by April 13."
There are a total of 11 cases involving Rs 8 crore payment to GMR and the NBWs were issued in connection with Rs 50 lakh bounced cheque, he said.
GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd, or GHIAL, which runs Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport had filed a petition in the court seeking Mallya's prosecution for defaulting on payments and cheating them by allegedly issuing cheques that bounced.
Advocate H Sudhakar Rao, appearing for Mallya said, "NBWs have been issued in this case (pertaining to dishonouring of Rs 50 lakh cheque). There are other cases going on wherein we have got orders from High Court dispensing with his (Mallya's) attendance".
"I will be filing an application in the High Court for quashing this order of issuing warrants," Rao told PTI. Asked whether he planned to step back into India, Mallya told 'The Sunday Guardian' in an e-mail interview, "I am an Indian to the core. Of course I want to return. But I am not sure I'll get a fair chance to present my side...I do not feel the time is right."
Separately, Mallya tweeted that he was being "hunted down" by the media in United Kingdom. "I am being hunted down by media in UK. Sadly they did not look in the obvious place. I will not speak to media so don't waste your efforts," he said.
In Hyderabad, Dattatreya when asked whether there were any anomalies in PF contributions made by Kingfisher airlines told PTI, "We have not examined the issue so far. I will look into that. We will examine (all the issues)."