UB Group chairman Vijay Mallya has been ordered to appear in person before a Mumbai anti-money laundering court on 29 July to avoid investigators from attaching his personal assets and declaring him a proclaimed offender.
The Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court judge said Mallya had absconded from the country to avoid arrest.
Kingfisher Airlines Ltd, the now defunct airline founded by Mallya, owes banks more than Rs.9,000 crore in loans. He left India for an overseas destination on 2 March, after signing a sweetheart deal with Diageo Plc. that agreed to pay him $75 million for stepping down as chairman of United Spirits Ltd. Diageo acquired a controlling stake in United Spirits in 2012-13.
Mallya was declared a wilful defaulter first by United Bank of India and later by others, including State Bank of India. Mallya has challenged the tag.
According to an official at the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which investigates money laundering and foreign exchange violations, the agency has published a court-issued proclamation ordering Mallya’s appearance before the special PMLA court on 29 July.
“If he fails to appear before the court, the PMLA court will finalize the tag of proclaimed offender... Also, we can start attaching his personal assets,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
Earlier this month, the court started the process of declaring the UB Group chairman a “proclaimed offender” in a case of suspected loan diversion.
“Proclamation is hereby made that the above named accused (Vijay Mallya) in the above case required to appear in the special court under PMLA, Greater Bombay in court Room No. 16 to answer the said complaint on July 29, 2016 at 11am,” said the order signed by special judge P.R. Bhavake read.
The official cited above said the proclamation was issued by the court under Section 82 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) at the request of the ED, which is conducting a probe into Mallya’s role in the Rs.800 crore loan diversion case.
ED suspects Mallya of siphoning off Rs.430 crore out of Rs.800 crore from an IDBI Bank Ltd loan to Kingfisher Airlines and using the money to purchase properties abroad. “We are confining our investigation to the IDBI Bank loan case. In the case of non-appearance of Mallya on 29 July, we will be able to take further steps in attaching properties” valued at more than Rs.800 crore, the official said.
ED has attached Mallya properties worth about Rs.1,411 crore under the PMLA in this case.