Extradition case: UK court grants bail to Vijay Mallya, next hearing on September 12 | WeForNews | Latest News, Blogs Extradition case: UK court grants bail to Vijay Mallya, next hearing on September 12 – WeForNews | Latest News, Blogs
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Extradition case: UK court grants bail to Vijay Mallya, next hearing on September 12

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Vijay Mallya

London, July 31: Embattled liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya, who returned to Westminister Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday for closing arguments in his high-profile extradition trial has been granted bail. The court also fixed the next hearing on September 12.

“The Senior District Judge (Emma Arbuthnot) will hear final submissions. Judgment will be reserved until a future date (to be arranged),” said a spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which is representing the Indian authorities in the case.

The 62-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines boss, who has been on bail on an extradition warrant since his arrest in April last year, is fighting extradition to India on charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to around Rs 9,000 crores.

Mallya’s defence team, headed by barrister Clare Montgomery, has disputed the fraud allegations and also submitted further written material from UK-based prisons expert Dr Alan Mitchell, challenging some of the photographs of Barrack 12 of Mumbai Central Prison on Arthur Road, where Mallya is to be held if he is extradited from the UK.

At the last hearing in the case on April 27, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had received a boost in the case as Judge Arbuthnot confirmed that the bulk of the evidence submitted by the Indian authorities will be admissible in the case.

The CBI had submitted a detailed set of documents to the UK court, which includes its case of conspiracy against former IDBI Bank Deputy Managing Director BK Batra, who was referred to in court as a new “villain” of sorts in the case.

As per the Indian authorities’ case of conspiracy, Batra reportedly colluded with Mallya in sanctioning some of the loans to the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines without following due diligence procedures.

“The photographs are not a true, fair and accurate picture,” Montgomery said.

The CPS team, led by barrister Mark Summers, dismissed the additional material as an “attempt to criticise” the information provided by the Indian authorities and reiterated that all concerns regarding natural light and medical provisions at Barrack 12 had been addressed by the Indian authorities.

The extradition trial, which opened at the London court on December 4 last year, is aimed at laying out a prima facie case of fraud against Mallya, who has been based in the UK since he left India in March 2016. It also seeks to prove there are no “bars to extradition” and that the tycoon is assured a fair trial in India over his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines’ alleged default of over Rs 9,000 crores in loans from a consortium of Indian banks.

In the separate extradition proceedings, if the judge rules in favour of the Indian government, the UK home secretary will have two months to sign Mallya’s extradition order. However, both sides will have the chance to appeal in higher courts in the UK against the Magistrates’ Court verdict.

The CPS has argued that the evidence they have presented establishes “dishonesty” on the part of the businessman and that there are no bars to him being extradited from the UK to face Indian courts.

Mallya’s defence team has deposed a series of expert witnesses to claim he had no “fraudulent” intentions and that he is unlikely to get a fair trial in India.

 

He has since lost his appeal in the UK’s Court of Appeal against a High Court order in favour of 13 Indian banks to recover funds amounting to nearly 1.145 billion pounds.

The High Court order in favour of the State Bank of India (SBI) led consortium had reinforced a worldwide freezing order against Mallya’s assets.

It was followed by a related enforcement order last month granting permission to the UK High Court Enforcement Officer to enter Mallya’s properties in Hertfordshire, near London, where he is based.

Mallya has since said that he has handed over a full statement of his UK assets to the court and there was no question of use of force to enter his home, Ladywalk, in the village of Tewin in England.

 

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Centre suspends fresh IBC proceedings till Dec

In June, the Union Cabinet approved the suspension, which came into effect from March 25 and was brought in through the ordinance route.

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Nirmala Sitharaman

New Delhi, Sep 24 : In a major relief for stressed companies amid the pandemic woes, the Centre on Thursday announced the suspension of fresh insolvency proceedings under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) by three more months till December.

In a gazette notification, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) said that the suspension on operation of Section 7, 9 and 10 of the IBC has been extended.

“In exercise of the powers conferred by section 10A of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, the Central Government has extended the suspension of sections 7,9, 10 of the IBC for a further period of three months,” the Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman said in a tweet.A

She said that the decision reinforces the government’s commitment to protecting businesses.

“It also gives companies breathing time to recover from financial stress,” she said.

In June, the Union Cabinet approved the suspension, which came into effect from March 25 and was brought in through the ordinance route.

Section 7 of the IBC allows initiation of corporate insolvency resolution process by financial creditor, while Section 9 allows operational creditors to file application for initiation of insolvency process by operational creditor.

Further, a corporate debtor who has committed a default, can file for initiation of a corporate insolvency resolution process under Section 10 of IBC.

Although the decision to extend the suspension has brought much-needed relief for business stressed in the midst of the pandemic, sector experts, however, have raised concerns regarding the financial stress it may create once the suspension is revoked.

Sumit Batra, Partner at India Law Alliance, said: “Another extension of three months beyond 25.09.2020 for initiation of bankruptcy against defaulting corporate entities will further aggravate the situation and lead to an unprecedented rise in fresh filing once the suspension is revoked.”

Noting that while the logic of suspension for not being able to initiate proceedings under Section 7 and 9 of IBC, seems justified to an extent that lockdown triggered due to widespread outbreak of Covid-19 affected the paying capacity of the corporate debtors, but “why such a suspension is being imposed for applications under section 10 seems illogical”.

The intent and extent of section 10 petition is to enable the corporate debtor to initiate insolvency against themselves in order to resolve the financial stress in a time-bound manner, Batra said, adding that, therefore, Section 10 petitions should have been excluded from being covered under this suspension.

In a recent debate in the Parliament, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had defended the decision to suspend Section 10 saying that in view of the economic situation, the companies filing for bankruptcy would not have achieved high valuations and bidding amounts would have been low, thereby not achieving the desired goal.

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Oil Ministry yet to recover $510 mn from contractors under PSC: CAG

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Dharmendra Pradhan

New Delhi, Sep 23 : The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has said that the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has not recovered $510 million as cost of unfinished minimum work programme (CoUMWP) from contractors in respect of 45 blocks.

The CAG report on Union Government (Economic & Service Ministries-Civil) – Compliance Audit Observations, which includes important audit findings, was presented in the Parliament on Wednesday.

It noted that the government awarded 254 blocks during the New Exploration and Licensing Policy’s (NELP) I to IX rounds for exploration of oil and gas. As per the terms and conditions of Production Sharing Contracts (PSC), contractors are required to pay the cost of unfinished minimum work programme, if the block is relinquished or terminated by government.

However, contractors of 54 relinquished blocks failed to pay the CoUMWP as specified in the PSCs.

“An amount of $510.79 million (Rs 3,652.64 crore), which was 77 per cent of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas’s (MoPNG) approved amount of $664.67 million (Rs 4,753.03 crore) on account of CoUMWP in respect of 45 blocks still remained unrecovered (September 2019),” the report said.

It added that the CoUMWP for nine blocks is yet to be worked out by Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) or yet to be approved by the ministry.

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IT Dept ignored land/flat sellers as ‘potential assessees’: CAG

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real estate

New Delhi, Sep 23 : The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has said that during financial years 2014-15 to 2017-18, the IT Department did not initiate any action regarding land and flat sellers who could be potential assessees.

The Performance Audit on ‘Search and Seizure Assessments in Income Tax Department’, tabled in the Parliament on Wednesday, said: “The Department did not initiate any action in respect of sellers of land/flat/ commodities pointed out in the respective Appraisal Report, who could be potential assessees. The department also did not confirm whether these were in the tax net of the department and regularly filing returns.”

It also said that there were loopholes and deficiencies in the provisions of the Act in respect of search assessments, mainly relating to absence of specific provisions in the Act and Rules, the report said.

“In respect of certain Groups, 76.5 per cent of additions made in search assessments did not stand the test of judicial scrutiny in appeals at the level of CIT (A)/ITAT,” it said.

The report found that assessing officers (AOs), while finalising the assessments, did not take a uniform stand in making additions on account of bogus purchases, accommodation entries and in adoption of figures of assessed income or revised income.

“The additions were made arbitrarily either on lump sum amount basis or different percentage ranging from five per cent to 50 per cent under similar circumstances without proper justification,” the report said.

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