How India’s fugitive economic offenders norms are turning up heat on once ‘king of good times’ Vijay Mallya

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Updated: Nov 30, 2018 11:35 AM

Vijay Mallya's lawyer Amit Desai argued that his client has cooperated with the Debts Recovery Tribunal in its proceedings in relation to the loans given to his firms.

PMLA, Vijay Mallya, Enforcement Directorate , SARFAESI Act , Kingfisher Airlines LtdLast week, the Bombay High Court rejected Vijay Mallya’s appeal for not attaching ‘fugitive’ tag to his name. (AP)

A special court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) cases Thursday dismissed the plea filed by absconding liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s lawyer Amit Desai, asking to adjourn the hearing of Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) application to declare him a fugitive economic offender. The division bench headed by Judge RM Sawant dismissed the plea calling it premature. Under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act of 2018, the special courts have a right to declare a person a fugitive economic offender.

In an argument, Desai said that his client Vijay Mallya – who is currently in London – left India in “normal course” and before any case registered against him. He added that Mallya is a non-resident Indian (NRI) with a permanent address in London and he had substantial business overseas as well as in India.

Vijay Mallya is accused of defaulting on about approximately Rs 9,000 crore in loans willfully for his now-defunct carrier Kingfisher Airlines. The ED had furnished evidence against him in two charge sheets, which were filed under the PMLA court, to make a case for seeking a fugitive offender tag for Vijay Mallya from the court.

However, Desai has argued that his client has cooperated with the Debts Recovery Tribunal in its proceedings in relation to the loans given to his firms.

Last week, the Bombay High Court rejected Mallya appeal for not attaching ‘fugitive’ tag to his name. Vijay Mallya had filed an appeal against the ED, which wanted him to be declared a ‘fugitive economic offender’ and his properties to be confiscated. Mallya sought a stay on ED’s request to begin proceedings against him under the new laws.

Earlier in September 2018, Mallya had informed the PMLA court that he was not a fugitive economic offender, and was also not involved in any scheduled offence of money laundering.

Non-bailable warrants were issued against the 62-year-old former Kingfisher Airline boss in November 2016 and July 2017, while the Fugitive Offender Act came into existence on April 21, 2018, while Mallya left the country in March 2016. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had also filed cases against him for alleged loan default.

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