The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday approached a Delhi court seeking to declare absconding liquor baron Vijay Mallya a proclaimed offender in a Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) violation case. The Patiala House Court in Delhi will continue hearing the case against Mallya and ordered Mallya to appear before it by December 18.
Special Public Prosecutor N K Matta, appearing for the ED, told the court that the agency has no other option but to initiate the proceedings to declare Mallya as a proclaimed offender.
In the last hearing that took place in April this year, a Delhi court had issued a no time limit/open-ended non-bailable warrant against him. It was the sixth non-bailable arrest warrant issued against Mallya. The matter had been put up for hearing for November 8 while the court had directed the ED to submit a progress report in the case.
Mallya, who is reportedly in London, had submitted before the court on September 9 that he wanted to come back to India but was “incapacitated” to travel despite “best intentions” as his passport had been revoked. On July 9, the court had cancelled the exemption from personal appearance granted to Mallya and directed him to appear before it on September 9.
According to the case by ED, Mallya is alleged to have paid $200,000 to a British-based firm and some other entities for displaying the logo of his Kingfisher brand in Formula One World Championships in London from 1996 to 1998. The probing agency had also claimed that the payment made by Mallya was not approved by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). According to FERA rules, such a payment needs mandatory prior approval from the RBI.
Mallya fled India in March last year and is at the centre of several financial controversies being probed by multiple agencies for matters like tax evasion, money laundering, cheque dishonour, loan default etc.