The Service Tax department had filed an application last week asking the Bombay High Court to impound the passport of industrialist Vijay Mallya in light of pending cases on recovery of government dues.
The application filed a week ago was mentioned on Wednesday before Justice C V Bhadang, who said the petition will be heard on Friday. The service tax department’s petition comes close on the heels of the development at Supreme Court, where a consortium of PSU banks appealed that Mr Mallya be not allowed to leave India.
According to the department’s application Mr Mallya owes Rs 32.68 crore as service tax collected from passengers of the Kingfisher Airlines. This is the admitted liability of the airline. The amount allegedly was not deposited with the government treasury, which is a violation of Section 89 (1) (d) of the Finance Act, 1994.
While Mr Mallya is believed to have left the country, the petition cautions that his departure without paying the dues to the government would be a “travesty of justice.” In their plea, the department has expressed the apprehension that since Mr Mallya’s Rajya Sabha term expires on June 30, 2016, he may not return to India.
The Service Tax department had first petitioned the High Court in 2015, challenging an order of the Metropolitan Magistrate, the same year, granting bail to Mr Mallya in a cheating case. This application has been pending for a year.
Service tax officials also launched two prosecutions against the liquor baron at the magistrate’s court, for alleged unpaid dues of Rs. 56 crore. In 2014, Mr. Mallya had sought exemption from court appearance in these cases. The cases pertain to service tax dues from April 2011 to March 2012 and from April 2012 to September 2012. The magistrate had passed an order for physical appearance on March 3, 2016. The cases are likely to be heard next on April 6. Former Kingfisher CEO Sanjay Aggarwal and former CFO A Raghunathan are also accused in the case along with Mr Mallya.