ED registers fresh money laundering case against Vijay Mallya
Adding to the exiting woes of beleaguered liquor baron Vijay Mallya, the Enforcement Directorate has registered a fresh money laundering case against him and his associates to investigate the alleged loan default of Rs. 6,027 crore availed from a consortium of nationalised banks, a case taken over by CBI recently.
Officials said the agency has filed the second criminal case under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after it recently obtained details of the case from CBI which has filed its FIR after getting a complaint from the State Bank of India (SBI).
The CBI had early this month filed a fresh case under IPC sections related to criminal conspiracy and cheating against Mr Mallya on the basis of a complaint received from SBI on behalf of the consortium of lenders for allegedly causing a loss of Rs. 6,027 crore to them by not keeping repayment commitments of loan taken during 2005-10.
By registering the fresh case, ED wants to strengthen its probe against the beleagured liquor baron and expedite a slew of actions it has initiated against him, including getting issued a global arrest warrant by Interpol and attaching more of his assets under the stringent PMLA.
Besides these steps, it also wants to invoke the India-UK Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) to force the businessman to return and join the investigation.
Besides Mr Mallya, his companies Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) and United Breweries Holdings Limited have also been named as accused in the CBI FIR which is now part of the ED case.
Both the central probe agencies had earlier filed cases of alleged default by the now-defunct KFA in repayment of loans obtained from IDBI Bank.
ED is also preparing to soon start the second round of assets attachments under PMLA after the embattled businessman early this month skipped appearance before a special PMLA court in Mumbai.
The agency, sources said, has identified some pledged shares, associated immovable and movable assets of Mr Mallya and his family members that would be seized and frozen as part of its action plan.
It is also in the process of getting a 'proclaimed person' order issued by the special court which will be sent to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in order to execute the India-UK MLAT to bring Mt Mallya back to India to join the probe.
ED has already attached his properties worth about Rs. 1,411 crore under PMLA in this case a few months ago.
The agency wants Mr Mallya to join the investigation in the PMLA case "in person" in the Rs. 900 crore alleged loan fraud case relating to IDBI Bank and has virtually exhausted all legal remedies like seeking an Interpol arrest warrant and getting his passport revoked.
Mr Mallya and others are alleged to have diverted a part of the loan to some of their offshore businesses.
(With PTI inputs)