To take steps for extradition of fugitive businesswoman Ritika Awasty: Supreme Court

 The Supreme Court today directed the Centre and Uttar Pradesh government to take all necessary steps for the extradition of an absconding businesswoman, who is currently residing in London.

The top court once again refused to grant relief to the mother in-law of Ritika Awasty, a promoter of the Bush Foods Overseas Pvt Ltd, whose residential property has been attached.

A bench of justices Arun Mishra and U U Lalit asked the counsels for the Centre and Uttar Pradesh government to take all possible steps to bring back the woman from London.

“You all take whatever steps necessary for the extradition of the woman. Bring her back,” the bench said.

Senior advocate Meenakshi Arora, appearing for Awasty’s mother-in-law, said her client was 75-year-old and had no other place to go.

“We have not dispossessed you from your properties. Ask her (Awasty) to come back and we will release your property. You cannot claim that she does not have share in the proprty,” the bench said.

On March 12, the bench had refused to release the attached properties of the mother-in-law, saying she should first bring her daughter-in-law back to India.

The Centre had earlier told the court that the government had made an extradition request to the UK with regard to Awasty.

On January 29, the apex court had said Awasty would have to face the “wrath of law” and that it would take “all possible steps” to get her back.

Awasty is facing trial in Uttar Pradesh on charges of cheating, forgery and criminal breach of trust and has been evading arrest after she was allowed by the top court to go to London.

The court had said it would leave no stone unturned to bring back the businesswoman, stressing that she could not be allowed to get away after breaching the court’s order.

The court had 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.”

On December 15 last year, the apex court had asked the Centre and Uttar Pradesh government to expeditiously complete the 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 UK, the proceedings to declare her a proclaimed offender should be completed expeditiously.

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 would 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 against her.

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

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