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Vijay Mallya asks London court for cash to pay his legal fees in India | India News – Times of India


LONDON: Indebted tycoon Vijay Mallya has made an application for £758,000 (Rs 7.8 crore) from the court funds office in London to pay his lawyers in India, saying he is unable to pay them himself owing to his assets being frozen whilst the bankruptcy proceedings against him are ongoing.
The application was made as an appeal in the Chancery Appeals division of the high court on Tuesday against a judgment by deputy ICC judge Barnett in February this year in which Barnett allowed his historic and future legal fees for defending his bankruptcy petition and his £22,500 (Rs 23 lakh) monthly living expenses to come from the court funds office, but excluded payment for his lawyers in India.
Judge Barnett had allowed Mallya to access £1.2 million (Rs 12 crore) in total from the court funds office, the source of which was the €3.3 million (Rs 29 crore) sale of Mallya’s property Le Grand Jardin in Cannes, France
The court heard that Mallya owed law firms in India £555,000 (Rs 5.7 crore) and that he needed £203,000 (Rs 2 crore) for future legal costs in India.
Philip Marshall QC, representing Mallya, said his client could not attend these cases himself as he would be “incarcerated”. He said there were three sets of proceedings — Mallya’s compromise settlement offer that is before the Supreme Court of India, his challenge to the 11.5% interest being charged on the judgment debt, and the fugitive economic offender proceedings he is contesting. Marshall argued all three were inextricably tied up with the bankruptcy proceedings, pointing out that if Mallya was successful in the interest rate challenge, the judgment debt would be halved to £569 million (Rs 5,851 crore) and he could meet the rest of it through his remaining assets, his assets realised and contributions from third parties. He said if the compromise settlement is approved then that would dispose of the entire judgment debt.
“It is quite invidious to not allow us to instruct lawyers in India and then complain he has not progressed these cases in India,” Marshall said. He argued the lack of funds were the reason why proceedings in India were not progressing, as well as the pandemic. “You don’t get further unless you press and encourage the court to try and list your matter and push it along. There is no one in India pushing things along for Mallya. His Indian lawyers are not prepared to extend him credit indefinitely and do need to be paid. We are talking about cases in India which are heavy and complex and he can’t conduct as he is not in India and nor can he go there as things currently stand. They are intricately bound up with the defence of petition.”
He even referred to the lavish funeral that the late BBC presenter Jimmy Savile had been allowed despite his insolvent estate being sued by alleged sex abuse victims as an example of expenses bankrupt estates sometimes had to meet.
Marshall submitted a letter from his Indian lawyers proposing to have their costs checked by an Indian court costs expert, which Tony Beswetherick, representing the banks, said his clients did not want imposed on them. Beswetherick added Mallya’s assets in India amounted to £230 million (Rs 2,365 crore), which was not enough to meet his debts even if halved by the interest rate challenge. Judgment will be handed down on Wednesday.





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