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No respite for Mallya; court issues non-bailable warrant

Sonam Saigal MUMBAI | Updated on January 27, 2018

Liquor baron VIjay Mallya (file photo)   -  The Hindu

UB group denies Kingfisher loans funded offshore property

A special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court on Monday issued a non-bailable warrant against former liquor baron Vijay Mallya in the ₹9,000-crore loan default case.

The warrant comes after the Enforcement Directorate filed an appeal to issue warrants against the owner of the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines. The ED had issued summons to Mallya three times over the last month and was forced to take legal recourse after he declined to appear before the investigating agency.

The Directorate is investigating a ₹900 crore loan extended by IDBI to Kingfisher.

According to the Directorate, Mallya had siphoned off ₹430 crore of the loan to acquire property abroad. While lawyers appearing on behalf of Mallya and Kingfisher challenged the ED’s allegation, the PMLA court rejected their plea.

Last week, the Ministry of External Affairs suspended Mallya’s diplomatic passport following his repeated failure to appear before the ED. The Ministry took the action based on the ED’s request and sent Mallya, who is believed to be in the UK, a notice asking why his passport should not be revoked under Section 10 (3) of the Passport Act.

The ED had earlier issued summons to Mallya to appear at its Mumbai office on March 18 and then on April 2 and 9. On all three occasions, Mallya failed to appear and sought time till May.

ED officials said this was delaying the investigation and the passport revocation request had therefore been sent.

The agency could now get Interpol to issue a Red Corner Notice against Mallya, if required. In addition, the agency may also issue a letter rogatory to the UK seeking assistance in the case, according to ED sources.

Published on April 18, 2016

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