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Will take all steps to get absconding businesswoman back: SC


Press Trust of India New Delhi
The Supreme Court today said that absconding businesswoman Ritika Awasty, currently residing in London, will have to face the "wrath of law" and it will take "all possible steps" to get her back.

Awasty, a promoter of Bush Foods Overseas Pvt Ltd, is facing trial in Uttar Pradesh on charges of cheating, forgery and criminal breach of trust, but she has been evading arrest after she was allowed to go to London.

The top court said that it will leave no stone unturned to bring back the businesswoman, stressing she cannot be allowed to get away after breaching the court's order.

"We will take all steps possible to get her back. This may be hell for her... There (in the UK) it may be heaven for her but we will not let her live in the heaven for long," a bench of justices Aruna Mishra and Amitava Roy said.

It also denied any interim relief to the woman's mother- in-law, after her property was attached on the order of the apex court on December 15 last year to compel her return from London.

Two properties, including the mother-in-law's house here, were attached on the court's order.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for her mother- in-law, said that his client was 75-years-old and if her property was also attached, there would no place for her to stay.

The court, however, said, "You will have to get her back. Speak to her and ask her to come back. We can modify our order but only after she comes back. Ask her to behave like a good daughter-in-law."

Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, said that as per direction of the court, extradition proceedings will be initiated against her in three weeks.

The bench then posted the matter for further hearing on March 13.

On December 15 last year, the apex court had asked the Centre and Uttar Pradesh government to expeditiously complete proceedings to declare the businesswoman a proclaimed offender and attach her properties in India.

It had said that since her bail had been cancelled by the court after she failed to return to India from the United Kingdom, the proceedings to declare her a proclaimed offender should be completed expeditiously.

Earlier, the apex court had pulled up the Centre for "not even bothering" about its orders on extradition matters and questioned the government's will in getting people evading the law back from foreign countries.

Awasty was allowed by the apex court to travel to London to see her husband and daughter in January 2016 after giving an undertaking that she will return by March 31, 2016.

However, the period was later extended till May 31, 2016, but she did not return from London which compelled the apex court to forfeit her security of Rs 86 lakh, cancel her bail and initiate contempt proceedings.

Awasty had challenged the Allahabad High Court order refusing to quash the FIR lodged against her but was granted bail and allowed to travel abroad by the apex court on an undertaking for looking after her husband and daughter in London.

The court had also revoked her passport after she failed to return to India by May 31, 2016.

On September 12, the court had directed the Centre to take appropriate steps within two weeks thereafter for extradition with the Crown Prosecution Services and sought details of her properties in India.

It had also asked the Centre to submit the income tax returns of Awasty and her husband.

On August 29, 2016, the apex court had said that it was "prima facie satisfied" that Awasty had "committed contempt of this court by breaching the directions issued by the court, as also, violating the undertaking given to this court".

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First Published: Jan 29 2018 | 10:30 PM IST

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