The special Prevention of Money Laundering Act court in Mumbai on Thursday declared liquor baron Vijay Mallya an “absconder” based on a plea by the Enforcement Directorate, PTI reported. The agency said the declaration would enable them to attach his movable properties, including those abroad, as the industrialist had failed to respond to several arrest warrants and appear before the court despite being pronounced a “proclaimed offender".
The Enforcement Directorate’s counsel Hiten Venegavkar said, “Now all the properties owed by him, including all shares and debentures he holds in companies, are permitted to be attached.” The Enforcement Directorate wants Mallya “in person” to continue its investigation of a Rs 900-crore loan granted by IDBI Bank.
On November 8, India had asked the United Kingdom, where Mallya has been residing, to extradite the industrialist under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty as he is owes around Rs 9,000 crore to 17 banks in India. A Delhi trial court, on November 5, had issued a non-bailable warrant against Mallya for evading summons issued to him in connection with a case relating to the violation of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act.
In October, the Supreme Court had asked Mallya to furnish details about his foreign assets. Mallya was declared a proclaimed offender in June by a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act court in Mumbai. According to Indian law, a proclaimed offender is one who is absconding despite an arrest warrant issued against them. The Enforcement Directorate 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.
Mallya left the country on March 2 and has been in the United Kingdom since then. He had claimed he was in “forced exile” and that he could not return to India.