The Bombay High Court today said it would hear on March 11 a Service Tax Department’s plea to recover government dues running into crores of rupees from Kingfisher Airlines chief Vijay Mallya and other directors.
The petition filed by the Department also seeks freezing of Mallya’s passport and restriction on his movement abroad.
The petition was mentioned by lawyer of Service Tax Department Advait Sethna before Justice C V Bhadang, who said “mention the plea on Friday (March 11) and we shall take it up.”
The department claimed in its petition that Mallya had collected from passengers travelling by Kingfisher Airlines large sums of money as Service Tax on behalf of the government but he and other directors (of the airline) had not deposited the amount in government treasury. As they are defaulters of statutory tax, money has to be recovered from them, it said.
It said Mallya’s term in Rajya Sabha expires on June 30 and that it had learnt from media reports that he was planning to go abroad and apprehended that he may not return.
Hence, the department pleaded that the high court should direct Mallya’s presence before it until the plea was decided and also until the trial in a magistrate’s court for recovery of Service Tax is over.
The department pleaded that it had filed two cases against Mallya in a magistrate court where the admitted liability of Kingfisher Airlines in respect of Service Tax dues was Rs. 32.68 crore and Rs. 23.38 crore respectively for different periods. While the first was being heard, the other one was still pending.
The department further pleaded the total disputed liability of Mallya in respect of Service Tax was to the tune of Rs. 535 crore, although admitted liability was 56.06 crore (Rs. 32.68 crore and Rs. 23.38 crore).
The department also contended that if Mallya was not present in India for the trial then it would cause irreparable prejudice to the cases. Mallya and his airline had violated section 89(1)(d) read with other provisions of amended Finance Act, it pleaded.