New Delhi: Indian businessman Vijay Mallya has moved the Supreme Court seeking to ward off the “fugitive” tag against his name by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
In September, Mallya told the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court that “he was not a fugitive economic offender” (FEO) under the Act and not involved in the scheduled offence of money laundering.
In the last two days, Mallya has made repeated offers to persuade Indian authorities to accept his settlement before the Karnataka High Court, ahead of next week when a judge at Westminster Magistrate’s Court is due to deliver her verdict on India’s attempt to extradite him from the UK.
Urging banks to accept his offer, Mallya maintained that the huge loans he took from banks went into keeping his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines afloat despite high jet fuel prices. Mallya also claimed that his vast liquor empire, the United Breweries, contributed “handsomely” to state exchequers.
On June 22, the ED had filed an application at the PMLA court to declare him a fugitive economic offender and sought orders to confiscate all his properties estimated to be around RS 12,500 crore. On June 30, the PMLA court took cognizance of the application filed by the agency.
This is the first case under the new law. The agency has filed two separate complaints registered under PMLA for investigation of money laundering against Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines Limited and United Breweries Holdings Limited and others.
The SC is expected to hear Mallya's case on Friday.
Mallya left India on March 2, 2016, and faces charges of defrauding banks to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore. He is currently in London where a court finished hearing on India's extradition case against him in September this year and is due to pronounce its verdict on December 10.