ED files charges against Vijay Mallya in case over IDBI Bank loans to Kingfisher Airlines
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Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday filed a chargesheet against businessman Vijay Mallya in a case related to the suspected diversion of a Rs900 crore loan given to his defunct Kingfisher Airlines Ltd (KFA) by IDBI Bank Ltd.
The chargesheet, filed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in which court precedes an effort by the ED to seek Mallya’s extradition from London, where he flew on 2 March 2016 as banks owed in excess of Rs9,000 crore by KFA closed in on him.
India has already made one extradition request to UK authorities based on a chargesheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the IDBI Bank loan diversion case.
The ED will now move court to push for Mallya’s extradition.
“The ED wants to quiz Mallya in the ongoing case proceedings. Earlier it was the CBI which had filed the extradition request. That does not entitle ED to quiz him,” an official familiar with developments in the case said on condition of anonymity.
On Tuesday, Mallya appeared at Westminister Magistrates’ court for a hearing on his extradition after his arrest 18 April arrest. The case will now be heard in December.
“There is no loan diverted anywhere,” Bloomberg on Tuesday quoted Mallya as telling reporters.
The ED chargesheet names Mallya and ex-KFA chief financial officer A. Raghunathan and IDBI officials BK Batra, Yogesh Agarwal, OV Bundelu, SK Shrivastava and RS Sridhar, an ED official said on condition of anonymity.
The ED’s case is that Rs417.29 crore of the IDBI loan had been remitted abroad and shown to be payments towards aircraft leases, rental and maintenance, servicing of aircraft parts and so on, the official said.
“However, the company was not able to give evidence to support its claims and (the money) seems to have been siphoned off abroad into shell companies,” the ED official added.
“Some of the loan amount to the tune of Rs120 crore was used to subsidise oil bills of Force India sponsor companies,” he said.
Mallya is the co-owner of Force India, a Formula One racing team.
A second ED official alleged that the KFA promoters had entered into a criminal conspiracy with bank officials to procure loans.
“The loan amount was sanctioned despite weak financials of Kingfisher Airlines, negative net worth (and) low credit borrowing quality of the borrower company,” said the second ED official.
On the reported comments on Tuesday by London court’s chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot that India had not submitted all the relevant papers needed for the extradition hearing, a person familiar with the development said the Indian government had handed over all the required documents in the case to the British high commission in New Delhi last week.
Elizabeth Roche contributed to this story.