Mallya not a fugi­tive, claims his lawyer

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES NATION - Naomi Can­ton

Former

liquor baron Vijay Mallya is not a “fugi­tive from In­dian jus­tice,” his lawyer claimed at the high court in Lon­don on Mon­day. Ni­cholas Pea­cock QC, rep­re­sent­ing Mallya, told the court Mallya left In­dia on March 2, 2016, to at­tend the World Mo­tor Sports Coun­cil, on which he had sat for 7.5 years, “not be­cause of ap­pli­ca­tions made in In­dia by the claimants.” “He was all along an NRI and has lived in Eng­land since 1992 and been an NRI since 1988, and has made trips to In­dia for busi­ness and politics lim­ited to 180 days a year since then,” he said. But Nigel Tozzi QC, rep­re­sent­ing the banks, said it was a “re­mark­able co­in­ci­dence” that he flew to the UK the same day the banks moved the Debt Re­cov­ery Tri­bunal (DRT). the $40m (about Rs 262 crore) pay­out from Di­a­geo in the dis­clo­sure of his chil­dren’s as­sets to the Supreme Court so it was “un­fair to be ac­cused of con­tempt by the Supreme Court”. His chil­dren were all US cit­i­zens so could have ob­jected to an­swer­ing an In­dian court’s or­der, Pea­cock sub­mit­ted.

“He ac­cepts he re­ceived just un­der $40m from Di­a­geo in Fe­bru­ary 2016 and paid that sum in three equal parts to a trust of which his three chil­dren are the ben­e­fi­cia­ries. He did it be­cause this was the sum payable to him in set­tle­ment of his rights against Di­a­geo, which was a ma­jor share­holder in UB, be­cause he was leav­ing the busi­ness and be­ing bought out of the liquor mar­ket world­wide and his chil­dren were los­ing the right to trade on the Mallya name in the liquor busi­ness world­wide,” Pea­cock said. He said had this not been the case his son, Sid­dharth, could have started trad­ing un­der the Mallya name the next day.

“He had a high-pro­file po­lit­i­cal ca­reer and with that comes po­lit­i­cal foes,” Pea­cock added.

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