VIJAY MALLYA Vs. ENFORCEMENT DIRECTORATE
HIGH COURT OF DELHI
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S.Ravindra Bhat, J. -
(1.) This revision proceeding impugns an order of the learned Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, charging the petitioner of committing offences punishable under Section 56, Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1973 (hereafter called "FERA").
(2.) The criminal proceedings were initiated against the petitioner pursuant to a complaint filed on 8.3.2000. The Chief Enforcement Officer, FERA considered attendance of the petitioner, to be necessary, in connection with investigation and had issued summons on several dates, viz 15.9.1999, 7.10.1999, 8.11.1999 and 21.12.1999, under Section 40 for his appearance together with documents such as his passport and correspondence etc. relating to an agreement. According to the complaint, an agreement, dated 1.12.1995 had been entered into by the petitioner with Flavio Briatore of M/s Benetton Formula Ltd., London. The complainant had required the petitioner's presence on 27.9.1998, 8.11.1999 and 26.11.1999. The complaint alleged that the petitioner accused failed to comply with the summons on different pretext despite their service. It was also alleged that Summons dated 21.12.1999 was issued in connection with the impending investigation for appearance of the petitioner on 3.1.2000 but it was returned back by the postal authorities with the remarks "refused". On the strength of the avermenets, it was alleged that the accused-petitioner had intentionally avoided appearing before the Enforcement Directorate knowing fully well that non-compliance with such directions rendered him for prosecution under Section 56 i.e a non-bailable offence.
(3.) In support of the complaint, seven prosecution witnesses were apparently examined; various documents were also exhibited at the pre-charge stage. The trial Court, after considering the materials and submissions on behalf of the petitioner, in the impugned order observed as follows :-
"I have carefully considered the arguments raised before me by both the Ld. counsel as well as documentary evidence produced by the parties. It is correct that summons dated 15.9.99 issued for 27.9.99 by regd. post in the name of Vijay Mallaya was received on 27.9.99 at about 2.00 p.m. for his appearance on 27.9.99 at 11.00 a.m. which is well proved from the statement of P.W.7. Hence I am fully satisfied that it was impossible for accused to appear before the concerned officer at 11.00 a.m. on 27.9.99.";
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