The case(s) against Vijay Mallya and Kingfisher Airlines
Vijay Mallya and the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines are embroiled in several court cases ranging from money laundering to tax evasion to loan defaults
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Millionaire Vijay Mallya on Tuesday was granted bail by London court hours after his arrest by the Scotland Yard, acting on an extradition request from India. Extradition proceedings against Mallya have now started.
Mallya, who insouciantly referred to Tuesday’s happenings in the UK as “usual Indian media hype” on Twitter, faces several cases in India, where his companies have defaulted on loans of around Rs9,000 crore from Indian banks. Here are the main cases:
CBI case on IDBI Bank loan to Kingfisher Airlines
The case pertains to defrauding of public sector banks under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
In July 2015, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registers a case in the loan default case based on a complaint by IDBI Bank.
This January, CBI charged Mallya with fraud and criminal conspiracy and sought judicial custody of former IDBI managers and Kingfisher Airlines officials in connection with dues of around Rs950 crore.
A CBI court has issued a non-bailable warrant against Mallya in relation to the loan default case.
Enforcement Directorate case on money laundering
The Enforcement Directorate registered a money-laundering case against Mallya and Kingfisher Airlines chief financial officer A. Raghunathan in connection with the IDBI Bank loan default case in March 2016.
In September, the Enforcement Directorate issued an order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to attach various properties belonging to Mallya and his associate firms.
While the Enforcement Directorate has not filed a chargesheet yet, it has sent Mallya several summons to be a part of its ongoing investigation. A Special PMLA court has issued non-bailable warrant to Mallya.
The agency had also secured a special court order to invoke the India-UK Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT).
Separately, in August, the Enforcement Directorate registered a case based on a complaint filed by a consortium of lenders led by State Bank of India-led (SBI).
Service tax evasion case
In 2011-12, the service tax department had issued a notice to Kingfisher Airlines for dues of Rs87.5 crore, which the airline had likely collected from passengers but not deposited with the department.
In September 2016, the chief metropolitan magistrate court of Mumbai had issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Mallya and Kingfisher Airlines chief executive officer Sanjay Agarwal.
SFIO investigation into financial irregularities
The Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) is investigating Kingfisher Airlines for financial irregularities and fund diversion since September 2015. It is also looking into Kingfisher Airlines’ inflated Rs4,000-crore-plus brand valuation by Grant Thornton Llp, on the basis of which loans may have been extended to the company.
Provident fund investigation
In March 2016, retirement fund body Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) formed an enforcement squad to investigate anomalies and irregularities in provident fund dues to Kingfisher Airlines employees. The labour ministry is also examining such anomalies.
GMR Hyderabad Airport cheque bounce case
GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd filed a case against Mallya and former Kingfisher Airlines CFO Raghunathan after cheques issued by the airline for payment of fees for using airport facilities bounced. Five non-bailable warrants have been issued by a local court in Hyderabad against Mallya.
In July 2016, a Mumbai metropolitan court issued a non bailable warrant against Mallya in a case of cheque bouncing filed by the Airports Authority of India (AAI). AAI has alleged that cheques issued by Kingfisher Airlines totalling Rs100 crore were not honoured.
Case related to non-payment of TDS
The income-tax department had moved the Karnataka high court in 2013 seeking dues amounting to Rs325 crore owed by Kingfisher Airlines relating to three fiscal years-2009-12.
The department alleged that tax deducted at source (TDS) from employees during these years was not deposited with it. The case is still being heard.
Debt recovery tribunal case
In January, the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) in Bengaluru ruled in favour of creditors allowing them to recover more than Rs9,000 crore in unpaid loans they extended to Kingfisher Airlines Ltd. Mallya, the airline, United Breweries Holdings Ltd and Kingfisher Finvest India Ltd are liable to pay the money, it said. Mallya ad other defendants are likely to appeal this at the Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunal.
Supreme Court hearing
On 16 March 2016, a consortium of banks led by SBI moved the Supreme Court to restrain Mallya from leaving the country. The banks were seeking to recover the $40 million Mallya received out of a $75 million package from Diageo Plc following his resignation as chairman of United Spirits Ltd in February 2016. The apex court directed Mallya twice—in April and October 2016—to disclose all assets held by him and his family.
In March 2017, the court reserved an order on whether Mallya could be held in contempt of court for not fully disclosing his assets.
Sebi order on United Spirits
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) in January barred Mallya and six former executives of United Spirits from accessing the securities market for alleged violations of the listing agreement, diversion of funds and fraud. Sebi’s order said funds from United Spirits were diverted to some group companies of United Breweries Ltd, including Kingfisher Airlines. Earlier this month, Mallya filed an appeal in the Securities Appellate Tribunal against the Sebi order saying that it heavily relied on forensic audits done by auditors EY India and Price Waterhouse Coopers for passing the directions.