Former liquor baron Vijay Mallya on Sunday said there is no basis for the actions initiated by Enforcement Directorate against him in connection with a money laundering case, reported The Hindu. "Purely civil matters such as loan recovery are being connected with criminal allegations without any basis whatsoever,” Mallya said in an email.
On Saturday, the agency had attached properties worth Rs.1,411 crore owned by Mallya and the holding company of United Breweries, which he used to run. The Central Bureau of Investigation has set up a Special Investigation Team to probe now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines and Mallya, who owes more than Rs 9,000 crore to a consortium of Indian banks.
Reacting to the ED's move, the 60-year-old businessman said, “The assets purportedly attached under Prevention of Money Laundering Act date back several years prior to the launch of Kingfisher Airlines. There is no rationale or any legal basis for the series of actions initiated by the ED, which is now making it more difficult to raise resources to pay the banks.” He said he had never refused to appear before the probing agencies, but only sought time to sell assets to pay employees, tax authorities and the banks.
Over the past few months, the banks and ED have sharpened their attack on him. Mallya left the country on March 2 after stepping down as head of United Spirits. He has said he has no plans to return and claims he is on a "forced exile". The Ministry of External Affairs had revoked Mallya's passport last month, and will reportedly begin the process of extraditing him, after the United Kingdom said it could not deport him as he has a valid residence permit.