The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has registered a fresh money laundering case against beleaguered businessman Vijay Mallya and his associates to investigate the alleged loan default of Rs 6,027 crore availed from a consortium of nationalised banks. ED’s previous case was related to the alleged Rs 900-crore IDBI Bank loan default case.
Officials said the agency has filed the second criminal case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after it recently obtained case details from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which has filed its FIR on a complaint from the State Bank of India (SBI).
The CBI had filed an FIR against Mallya under IPC sections related to criminal conspiracy and cheating on the basis of a complaint from the State Bank of India on behalf of the consortium of lenders for allegedly causing a loss of Rs 6,027 crore to them by not keeping repayment commitments of loan taken during 2005-10.
With the fresh case, ED wants to strengthen its probe against Mallya and expedite a slew of actions it has initiated against him, including getting issued a global arrest warrant by Interpol and attaching more of his assets under the stringent PMLA.
The agency also wants to invoke the India-UK Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) to force the businessman to return and join the investigation.
Besides Mallya, his companies Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) and United Breweries Holdings Limited (UBHL) have also been named as accused in the CBI FIR which is now part of the ED case.
Both the Central probe agencies had earlier filed cases of alleged default by the now-defunct KFA in repayment of loans obtained from the IDBI Bank.
ED is also preparing to soon start the second round of assets attachment under PMLA after the embattled businessman skipped appearance before a special PMLA court in Mumbai earlier this month. The agency, sources said, has identified some pledged shares, associated immovable and movable assets of Mallya and his family members which would be seized and frozen as part of the action plan.
It is also in the process of getting a ‘proclaimed person’ order issued by the special court which will be sent to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in order to execute the India-UK MLAT to bring Mallya back.
ED has already attached Mallya’s properties worth about Rs 1,411 crore under PMLA in the Rs 900-crore alleged loan fraud case a few months ago.
The agency wants Mallya to join the probe “in person” and has virtually exhausted all legal remedies.