Mallya not a fugitive, claims his lawyer
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.