Former liquor baron Vijay Mallya was on Tuesday declared a proclaimed offender by a special court that deals with cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, reported PTI. The court was hearing a plea filed by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with cases pertaining to the more than Rs 9,000 crore that the business tycoon owes to a consortium of Indian banks.
According to Indian law, a proclaimed offender is one who is absconding despite an arrest warrant issued against them. The investigating agency had moved court to have Mallya declared a proclaimed offender as this is a prerequisite for a red corner notice (an international crime alert) to be issued against him.
"My officers have searched various places to execute the warrant against Mallya. However, he is not found and has left the country. We are submitting the report of the officers describing the places where the officers had searched for the accused for the perusal of the court," advocate Neeti Pondi, who was representing the ED, told the court.
On June 11, the agency attached properties worth Rs 1,411 crore belonging Mallya and the holding company of United Breweries, which he used to run. Following the development, the 60-year old said there is no basis for the actions initiated by the ED against him.
"Purely civil matters such as loan recovery are being connected with criminal allegations without any basis whatsoever,” Mallya had said in an email. He left the country on March 2 after stepping down as head of United Spirits. He had said he had no plans to return and claimed to be on "forced exile". He is believed to be in the United Kingdom.