A MUMBAI court Monday issued a non-bailable warrant against Vijay Mallya, chairman of the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines, in connection with a money laundering case. The special court under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act accepted the Enforcement Directorate’s plea seeking a non-bailable warrant against Mallya to complete its investigation against him.
An ED source said that this would pave the way for Mallya’s deportation. “The warrant will be sent to the Ministry of External Affairs which will prepare a proposal and send it to the UK government which can take him into custody and deport him to India. The other procedure will be the MEA can inform Interpol and red-corner notices will be issued against him,” said the source.
According to the source, ED will finish the process within the next two weeks. Last week, the MEA suspended Mallya’s diplomatic passport after ED’s request.
Also on Monday, Mallya filed an application in the same court denying all the allegations made by the ED. The ED has alleged that Mallya may have transferred Rs 430 crore out of the Rs 900 crore loaned to Kingfisher by IDBI bank to acquire properties abroad.
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“This allegation has triggered the need for the company to put some things on record through this application before any coercive steps are taken as prayed for by the ED,” said advocate Amit Desai, counsel representing Kingfisher in court.
Desai said two executives of the UB group, Ravi Nedungadi, the UB Group CFO, and A Raghunathan, former CFO of Kingfisher, have been cooperating with the investigation, with both having spent approximately 30 hours each in recording statements and providing information sought by the ED.
“A detailed explanation of the utilisation of the proceeds of the IDBI loan with relevant supporting documents including copies of swift messages with details of foreign remittances will be furnished to the ED in the next few days,” states the application filed by Kingfisher.
The ED, however, questioned the locus standi of Mallya filing the application before the court at this stage. “The statements of the executives have not been in a manner of cooperation and have been evasive. We need the accused number two (Mallya) to appear before us for verification so that the information we have been given so far in the investigation is verified,” said Hiten Venegaonkar, counsel for ED.
Joint Director Satyabrata Kumar, who was present during the proceedings, submitted a sealed envelope on details of money in Mallya’s account overseas.
Special Judge P R Bhavake rejected Mallya’s application while allowing the ED’s plea.
Kingfisher has defaulted on loans of over Rs 7,000 crore to 17 Indian banks. The companies total liabilities stood at Rs 9,000 crore at the end of November 2015. Mallya and his companies have come under the scanner of multiple investigating agencies in the country such as the SFIO, CBI and the service tax department.