The Bombay High Court on Thursday rejected businessman Vijay Mallya’s petition challenging the Enforcement Directorate’s request to declare him a fugitive economic offender, PTI reported.
Mallya , who is accused of cheating banks of Rs 9,000 crore, is fighting a number of lawsuits in the United Kingdom and India related to fraud and money laundering allegations. India is also attempting to extradite him from the UK. In October, a special court in Mumbai had dismissed his petition seeking a stay on the Enforcement Directorate’s request.
The investigating agency has requested a trial court to initiate proceedings against the liquor baron under the Fugitive Economics Offenders Act. They have also sought to confiscate his properties under the new law.
Lawyer Amit Desai, appearing for Mallya, said the High Court should not misunderstand his petitions as a ploy to avoid the proceedings. “We are also anxious to clear the dues and to see to it that the creditors get their dues back,” Desai added. “We only do not want the properties to be seized by the Enforcement Directorate, which would then hamper the process of clearance of dues.”
However, the High Court said it did not want to grant any relief to Mallya. “The application has been filed at the threshold and at a very premature stage when the lower court is still hearing the prosecuting agency’s request to declare him [Mallya] a fugitive economic offender,” it added.
Under the new Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018, a fugitive economic offender is defined as “a person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued in respect of a scheduled offence and who has left India so as to avoid criminal prosecution, or being abroad, refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution”.