Fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s counsel on Monday told a special court in Mumbai that the Enforcement Directorate “resisted” his attempt to repay his loans to public sector banks, PTI reported. Mallya, who is in the United Kingdom, made the submission in response to an Enforcement Directorate application seeking that he be declared a fugitive under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act.
“Despite continuing efforts over the last two to three years, when efforts have been made to repay the public sector banks, instead of taking steps to facilitate the process of repayment to banks, the ED has, at every step, resisted this effort,” Mallya, who is facing an extradition trial in Britain, submitted on Monday. The businessman also claimed that the agency’s endeavour to confiscate assets is “contrary to public and national interest”.
“He has neither absconded nor concealed himself from the due process of law either in India or in the United Kingdom,” Mallya’s counsel Amit Desai told the Prevention of Money Laundering Act court, according to The Hindu. “In fact his address is known to authorities of both countries. It is, therefore, false to contend that he ‘refuses to return to India’ while he remains in custody of UK court in ongoing extradition proceedings.”
Mallya requested that the proceedings in the Mumbai court be halted or adjourned until the extradition trial in the United Kingdom was over. The court set September 28 as the next date for hearing.
On September 3, an anti-money laundering court in Mumbai directed Mallya to reply to the agency’s plea within three weeks. The court had said it would conduct a day-to-day hearing of the matter for timely disposal.
On September 12, Mallya claimed that he met Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley before leaving the country in 2016 and offered to reach a settlement with banks. The businessman, who is accused of defrauding banks of over Rs 9,000 crore, made the statement after a hearing of his extradition case in the Westminster Magistrate’s Court in London.