Economy

Tribunal upholds SEBI order against Mallya

Forum Gandhi Mumbai | Updated on March 12, 2021

Indian business man Vijay Mallya leaves the high Court for a lunch break as he appeals against extradition to India to face fraud charges at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Tuesday, July 2, 2019. Mallya, whose business empire once included Kingfisher beer, left India two and a half years ago after defaulting on debts of more than a billion dollars linked to a failing venture, Kingfisher Airlines.(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)   -  AP

The regulator had barred him from accessing market

The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) on Friday dismissed Vijay Mallya’s appeal against the Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (SEBI) order that barred him from accessing the capital markets. Mallya’s counsel sought further time to file scanned pleadings (for VC hearing) and also further time to bring on record additional documents.

However, the Bench, chaired by Justice Tarun Agarwala, and Justice MT Joshi, Judicial Member, rejected this. Then the advocate, appearing on behalf of Mallya, sought the matter to be adjourned since he was not ready to argue.

The Bench recorded the submission and dismissed the appeal on that basis.

SEBI’s conclusion

Anubhav Ghosh, Partner at The Law Point, appearing on behalf of SEBI, told BusinessLine that the “SEBI Order comes to the conclusion that United Spirits was indirectly funding other UB companies including the airline and the F1 team, at the behest of the top-most management.” With the appeal being dismissed, this finding gets cemented.

The matter dates back to January 2017, when SEBI had barred the former United Spirits Ltd (USL) chairman and six former executives of the company from accessing the securities market for alleged violations of the listing agreement, diversion of funds and fraud.

Violations

In April that year, Mallya had approached SAT against the said directive. He had alleged that there were violations of “principle of natural justice”. In his appeal, he had said that SEBI has based its order on two forensic audit reports and without its own investigations. However, SAT went ahead and passed an interim order in favour of SEBI in the said matter.

The 64-year-old businessman is currently in London, and the Indian authorities have filed an appeal in the top courts of the UK for his extradition to India to face money laundering and fraud charges here. According to sources, with SEBI’s findings having been crystallised, the case for urgent extradition becomes more forceful.

Published on March 12, 2021

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