(Image source from: Hindustan Times)
The United Kingdom High Court has ordered Indian businessman Vijay Mallya to pay a minimum of 200,000 pounds towards the costs of legal case pursued against him by 13 Indian banks, including State Bank of India.
Earlier this month, after Mallya's attempt to throw out the registration of a ruling by India's Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) in the UK, and a failure of worldwide freezing of international assets, Judge Henshaw needed Mallya to pay the costs of the World Freezing Order and of the DRT of Karnataka's judgement in Britain.
"The court ordered that Mallya pay the banks costs. The standard order is that the court will assess those costs unless the parties can otherwise agree on a figure for what should be paid," said a legal expert familiar with the case.
The court's assessment of costs is a separate process, which ends with another court hearing before a specialist costs judge in the UK. Merely meanwhile, Mallya must pay 200,000 pounds towards these legal costs liability.
In a high court ruling dated May 8, Judge Henshaw had refused to overturn a worldwide order freezing Mallya's assets and upheld an Indian court's ruling that the consortium of 13 Indian banks.
Thirteen Indian banks
State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Corporation Bank, Federal Bank Ltd, IDBI Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Jammu and Kashmir Bank, Punjab and Sind Bank, Punjab National Bank, State Bank of Mysore, UCO Bank, United Bank of India and JM Financial Asset Reconstruction Co. Pvt Ltd, were entitled to recover funds amounting to about 1.145 billion pounds.
The judicial costs owed to the banks emerged in a subsequent court order by the same judge.
Charges against Mallya without substance, politically motivated: Mallya's lawyers
"The First Defendant's (Mallya) application for permission to appeal is refused. Any further application for permission to appeal should be made to the Court of Appeal to be dealt with by a judge of that court," the judgment notes.
Mallya, who is separately also fighting extradition to India on fraud and money laundering charges worth an estimated Rs 9,000 crore, has since filed an appeal notice at the Court of Appeal, which includes an application for permission to appeal.
Approval will only be granted if the tribunal considers that the appeal would have a factual prospect of success or there is some other compelling reason for the appeal to be heard.
Interim, Mallya is due back at Westminster Magistrates Court in London next month for one of the concluding hearings in his extradition case.
A proceeding for concluding arguments to be presented by his defense team and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), on behalf of the Indian authorities, was scheduled for July 11 but is now likely to take place on July 31.
The former Kingfisher Airlines brag remains on bail since his apprehension on an extradition warrant in April last year. The CPS believes it has successfully constituted a prima facie case of fraud against the man of affairs and that there are no bars to his extradition to face the courts in India.
Mallya's lawyers have claimed the criminal charges against their client are "without substance" and "politically motivated". On human rights grounds, they have also challenged the case, questioning the situation at Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai, where the businessperson is to be held post-extradition.
By Somwya Sangam