Separately, the ED will use the CBI chargesheet against Kingfisher Airlines, its officials and IDBI Bank officials to Vijay Mallya's extradition
Mumbai: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has reached out to law enforcement authorities in seven countries to which it suspects funds from IDBI Bank’s Rs950 crore loan to Kingfisher Airlines Ltd were diverted.
Separately, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) will use the CBI chargesheet against Kingfisher Airlines, its officials and IDBI Bank officials to file a fresh extradition plea for Vijay Mallya, a senior official of the investigative agency said on condition of anonymity.
“A significant portion of the loans was disbursed by the bank was remitted out of India," said CBI in its 2,000-page chargesheet filed on 24 January. The chargesheet, a part of which was reviewed by Mint, names five retired IDBI bankers, four Kingfisher Airlines officials and Mallya, whom it called an absconder.
The CBI has already asked seven countries including the US, UK, Ireland, Mauritius and Switzerland to conduct investigations in their respective jurisdictions and provide documentary evidence.
CBI said it has so far unearthed a trail of Rs263 crore which it believes was diverted. CBI’s investigation found that risk norms were flouted in sanctioning a short-term advance of Rs150 crore in addition to the Rs950 crore loan.
“It is relevant to mention here that the proposal was referred for credit rating almost a week after the disbursement of the entire loan amount," said the chargesheet.
ED also plans to re-initiate the process of bringing Mallya back to India. The businessman left India in early March for the UK as creditors owed in excess of Rs9,000 crore by Kingfisher Airlines closed in on him.
“ED will make a second attempt to bring Vijay Mallya to India. We will use the CBI chargesheet to file a fresh extradition plea with ministry of external affairs and simultaneously apply for Mutual Legal assistance or MLAT," said the ED official cited earlier. MLAT is a bilateral agreement to share information in an ongoing investigation.
ED is also investigating whether bankers received any kickbacks in the IDBI case.
The BJP and Congress on Monday traded charges over “help" extended to Vijay Mallya in securing loans and leaving the country, with the two parties hurling accusations at each other for coming to the aid of the beleaguered businessman. Ahead of the budget session beginning on Tuesday, the BJP sought to corner Congress, alleging the “corrupt hands" which helped Mallya secure bank loans belonged to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and finance minister P.Chidambaram.
Singh and Chidambaram rejected the charge, and the Congress targeted the Modi government over allowing the former liquor baron to leave for foreign shores. BJP spokesman Sambit Patra quoted from purported letters written by Mallya to Singh seeking his intervention to bail out KFA, following which it got loans. Singh told the media that it was routine for businessmen to write letters to the government which were marked to appropriate authorities and that they did not violate any law. “I think what I have done was done with full satisfaction of mind that we were not doing anything which was against law of the land."
Patra cited another letter the liquor baron, who has been declared a proclaimed offender by a court, allegedly wrote to Chidambaram in March 2013, seeking his intervention to get a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from State Bank of India when his liquor company United Spirits Ltd was in talks with Diageo Plc. over a deal. Mint couldn’t ascertain the context of that letter, but SBI heads the consortium that loaned money to KFA.
“The letter does not concern Kingfisher, it concerns United Spirits Limited, which was and is a thriving, flourishing profitable company. The letter does not talk about any loan, the letter talks about an NOC for a preferential allotment of shares. That is capital, equity, not loans," Chidambaram told reporters.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala posed a string of questions to BJP, asking the ruling party to explain who was responsible for allowing Mallya to leave India at a time when the consortium of lenders were moving against him. “Why has Modi Government not sought deportation of Vijay Mallya from UK till today?" Surjewala asked.