The Supreme Court on Friday refused to stay proceedings initiated by the Enforcement Directorate to get a special anti-corruption court to declare Vijay Mallya a fugitive economic offender and confiscate his properties, ANI reported. The top court asked the agency to respond to Mallya’s plea challenging its move.
On June 22, the Enforcement Directorate had moved the special court hearing cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act to declare Mallya a fugitive economic offender and Rs 12,000-crore worth of his properties.
Mallya is accused of cheating banks of Rs 9,000 crore and is fighting a number of lawsuits in the United Kingdom and India related to fraud and money laundering allegations. India is also attempting to have him extradited from the UK.
On Wednesday, Mallya criticised the Indian media for calling him a loan defaulter and “humbly requested” various banks to take back all the money he had borrowed to keep his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines in business.
“For three decades running India’s largest alcoholic beverage group, we contributed thousands of crores to the state exchequers,” Mallya had tweeted. “Kingfisher Airlines also contributed handsomely to the states. Sad loss of the finest airline but still I offer to pay banks, so no loss. Please take it.”
He claimed that the money taken from the banks was channelled into the airline, which was struggling partly because of high aviation fuel prices. The liquor baron asked why politicians and the media were still referring to him as a defaulter. “Why don’t I get fair treatment and the same loud noise about my comprehensive settlement offer before the Karnataka High Court? Sad,” he had said.
Last week, Mallya’s lawyer told a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act court that the businessman left India legally and cannot be declared a fugitive because he was arrested in the United Kingdom on the basis of a warrant issued against him by an Indian court.