The Ethics Committee of the Rajya Sabha (RS) on Wednesday expelled Vijay Mallya from its membership, according to media reports. A ruling anticipated much earlier had prompted the businessman to submit his resignation a day ago; however, the chairman of the Rajya Sabha rejected it.
"...the gravity of the misconduct, a sanction not less than termination of membership from the House is warranted under the circumstances," according to the committee's report, as cited by Press Trust of India. The report added: "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."
In an opportunity offered by the committee to explain his position, Mallya had, in fact, raised some legal and constitutional issues for his expulsion. The report stressed his argument were not tenable as 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 emphasised that such a stern action would send a message to the country's citizens that Parliament is committed to taking action against its erring member "to uphold the dignity and prestige of this great institution."
"It is a matter of regret that Dr Mallya has thought it fit to impugn the (Supreme Court) judgement and impartiality of the Committee on Ethics as well as the entire House," the report was quoted by PTI.
The Economic Times reported that the 13 lender banks, on request of the committee, filed that Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines owed Rs. 9431.65 crore in total liability. IDBI Bank's exposure alone was Rs. 1687 crore, while Punjab National Bank lent Rs. 1223 crore to the Mallya and his companies.
Incidentally, a mandatory rule of the House that requires members to disclose all their liabilities under the Assets and Liabilities Returns, which Mallya ignored, will now be at the House's discretionary action.
Mallya's scanned copy of resignation was a part of his concerted bid to avoid expulsion, reported the Times of India. He did not want his "name and reputation to be further dragged in mud," it added.
The resignation letter was, however, rejected as nonconforming to prescribed procedures and his signature not being in original. Karan Singh, chairman of the committee, pointed out "wrong procedure" as reason for the rejection.