Mallya calls it a day in Rajya Sabha, quits House to escape expulsion

Right before disappearing into ignominy after a damning report by a Rajya Sabha panel for defaulting on loans to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore to various Indian banks, Kingfisher Airlines chairman Vijay Mallya chose an relatively honourable exit.

UB Group chairman Vijay Mallya. Reuters

UB Group chairman Vijay Mallya. Reuters

Amid the heat of AgustaWestland scam debate on Wednesday, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien announced that Chairman Hamid Ansari had accepted Mallya's resignation as a member of the Upper House. The Ethics Committee of Rajya Sabha had recommended the expulsion of beleaguered businessman Mallya with immediate effect.

"The committee was of the firm view that taking into consideration the gravity of the misconduct, a sanction not less than termination of membership from the House is warranted under the circumstances," the Committee on Ethics said in its 10th report tabled in the Upper House by its chairman Karan Singh on Wednesday.

"Having considered the whole matter, including Dr Mallya's letter, the Committee on Ethics unanimously decided at its meeting on May 3 to recommend to the House that Dr Vijay Mallya be expelled with immediate effect," it said.

"The Committee hopes that by taking such stern action, a message would reach the general public that Parliament is committed to take such steps as are necessary against erring Members to uphold the dignity and prestige of this great institution," the report said.

The Upper House was to take a call on the recommendation made by the ethics panel in the report "on the non-disclosure of liabilities such as the loans taken from different banks in his Assets and Liabilities Returns by Dr. Vijay Mallya, Member, Rajya Sabha."

Mallya, in his letter in response to the panel's offer to explain his position, "has raised some legal and constitutional issues which are not tenable, because the Supreme Court has clearly upheld the power of the Rajya Sabha to expel its members for gross misconduct unbecoming of a Member of the House," the report said.

The panel said "it is a matter of regret that Dr Mallya has thought it fit to impugn the (Supreme Court) judgment and impartiality of the Committee on Ethics as well as the entire House."

However, Mallya's resignation was rejected on Tuesday as it failed to follow the requisite norms.

Ansari rejected the resignation letter as it did not conform to the "prescribed procedures" and did not bear Mallya's signature in original, said Gurdeep Singh Sappal, Ansari's Officer on Special Duty on Twitter. "As per Rule 213 of RS procedures, the resignation must be voluntary and genuine," he said.

Although the report was formally submitted to the Chairman Rajya Sabha formally on Wednesday, a buzz was already on that expulsion was the ultimate recommendation. Anticipating such a recommendation, the independent Rajya Sabha member had sent in his resignation to Ansari on Monday, a day before the ethics panel was to meet.

Mallya had sent in a fresh resignation on Wednesday after Rajya Sabha Secretariat General informed him on Tuesday about its rejection on procedural grounds.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: May 04, 2016 20:03 PM

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