Setback to Vijay Mallya, Mumbai court issues non-bailable warrant against him
Mumbai: A special PMLA court in Mumbai today issued a non-bailable warrant against beleaguered businessman Vijay Mallya after he refused to appear before Enforcement Directorate.
Thus, the court rejected a plea by Kingfisher Airlines in the special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court challenging Enforcement Directorate's claim that Rs 430 crore was siphoned off by Mallya for acquiring properties abroad.
Earlier, ED, which is currently investigating Mallya on charges of money-laundering and loan fraud of Rs 900 crore it received from IDBI Bank, moved the PMLA court seeking a non-bailable warrant against him. The development followed soon after the Ministry of External Affairs suspended the diplomatic passport of the beleaguered industrialist on Friday.
“Three summons were issued to Mallya under section 15 of PMLA act in which first was issued on March 10, second on March 18 and the third one on April 2 this year,” ED’s lawyer said at the hearing in the Mumbai court today.
The lawyer, in the course of the arguments said that Mallya was not to be trusted. “Mallya is a person who uses tactics of asking the court for granting time and then does not abide by his promises,” they told court.
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“Vijay Mallya might use his money power to tamper with the evidences,” he added.
The ED had earlier requested the MEA to take action under the Passport Act, 1967 and ask the Regional Passport Office (RPO) to revoke Mallya’s diplomatic passport, leading to its suspension.
In its request to the MEA, ED said that Mallya had been “un-cooperative” with its investigators probing a criminal case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) at its zonal office in Mumbai.
Last week, the agency had issued fresh summons – the third so far – to Mallya asking him to appear before it on April 9. This was after the former Kingfisher director sought two extensions from the earlier dates of March 18 and April 2 citing certain official reasons.
“We gave him a chance to cooperate in the investigation, but Mallya chose to disregard the summons,” an ED official said earlier.
Mallya fled to London last month as pressure mounted on him to repay bank loans amounting to Rs 9000 crore.
The owner of Kingfisher Airlines and many other companies is currently in London, defying Enforcement Directorate (ED) summons.
(With inputs from PTI)