Court declares Vijay Mallya 'proclaimed offender'

A file photo of Force India team principal Vijay Mallya during the press conference of Force India (pic: Reuters)
A trial court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on Friday declared beleaguered industrialist Vijay Mallya a ‘proclaimed offender’, after he failed to appear before the court on Friday.

A person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued can be declared a ‘proclaimed offender’ if the court has reasons to believe that he/she is absconding or is in hiding, blocking execution of the warrant.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had requested the court to declare him a ‘proclaimed offender’ under Section 82 of the criminal procedure code (CrPC). The ED is investigating an alleged money laundering case involving Rs 950 crore raised by Mallya’s now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines from IDBI Bank.

“With this, the probe agency can seize his domestic properties belonging to him and seek his foreign properties attachment, too,” said an ED official. The ‘proclaimed offender’ tag would also help in Mallya’s extradition from the UK, he added.

So far, the ED had attached United Breweries Holdings and Mallya’s assets worth Rs 1,411 crore in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Coorg and Chennai. Mallya, who is reportedly in the UK, owes Rs 6,963 crore to a consortium of banks led by State Bank of India, for loans taken to run Kingfisher Airlines.

The lenders say Mallya had given personal guarantees, apart from pledging his stake in UB Group companies, to raise funds for the airline. This resulted in Mallya losing control over his liquor empire to global players — Diageo in spirits and Heineken in beverages.

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