Kingfisher airlines case: SFIO gets nod for filing prosecution cases

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Updated: November 22, 2017 10:27:17 PM

The corporate affairs ministry has approved filing of prosecution cases by the SFIO against defaulter businessman Vijay Mallya and others in the Kingfisher Airlines matter, a senior government official said today.

Kingfisher Airlines, Vijay Mallya, SFIO, Corporate affairs ministry, Serious Fraud Investigation OfficeThe corporate affairs ministry has approved filing of prosecution cases by the SFIO against defaulter businessman Vijay Mallya and others in the Kingfisher Airlines matter, a senior government official said today. (Image: IE)

The corporate affairs ministry has approved filing of prosecution cases by the SFIO against defaulter businessman Vijay Mallya and others in the Kingfisher Airlines matter, a senior government official said today.  In its detailed report on the matter submitted to the ministry recently, the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) flagged various violations by individuals and entities related to the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines, which was owned by Mallya.  The ministry has given its approval for the SFIO to file prosecution cases in the Kingfisher Airlines matter, the official said.  The charges for prosecution would be filed against Mallya and others for various violations of provisions under the companies law before a special court here.  Specific details could not be immediately ascertained.

Sources said that a meeting of various probe agencies like the SFIO and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) was recently held to discuss taking “collective action” in this case.  Mallya, who has been based in the UK for a long time, is wanted in India for Kingfisher Airlines’ default on loans worth nearly Rs 9,000 crore and some other matters.  The ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) have already filed their separate charge sheets against the businessman and other accused.  According to sources, the SFIO is believed to have recommended various actions against individuals and entities for violations in the Kingfisher Airlines matter.  Among others, the white collar crime probe agency had recommended examining the role of some banks as well as bank officials in sanctioning credit facilities to the airline apart from action against promoter directors, they said.

The probe agency had red-flagged a slew of violations of companies law by Mallya, Kingfisher Airlines and officials, including serious corporate governance lapses.  The role of independent directors and whether they failed in discharging their duties during their tenure at the airline has come to the fore, sources had said earlier.  The probe agency, which comes under the ministry, had investigated alleged diversion of funds and financial reporting frauds at the carrier, which was grounded in 2012.  SFIO, which investigates violations under the Companies Act, requires the ministry’s approval before filing prosecution cases.

The 61-year-old flamboyant businessman was arrested in London in October in a money laundering case filed by the Enforcement Directorate, before being released on bail by Westminster Magistrates’ Court. Mallya, already out on bail on an extradition warrant executed by the Metropolitan Police earlier this year, was released on the same bail conditions as before to appear for his trial on December 4.

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