Is Mallya a fugitive economic offender? Court fixes Sept 3 as next date of hearing

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Is Mallya a fugitive economic offender? Court fixes Sept 3 as next date of hearing

Mumbai: A special court on Monday fixed September 3 as the next date of hearing in the Vijay Mallya fugitive economic offender declaration case, after some other parties sought to implead themselves in the matter pertaining to the alleged default of over Rs 9,000 crore bank loans, officials said.

At least five parties, including a family member of Mallya, had sought court documents with regard to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) seeking to get Mallya declared a fugitive economic offender under the new law, and hence the court posted the matter for the next week. The next date for the hearing in the case is September 3, according to an order by the court of special PMLA judge M S Azmi, officials said.

Is Mallya a fugitive economic offender? Court fixes Sept 3 as next date of hearing

A counsel for Mallya also appeared in the court on Monday, according to the scheduled date of hearing, and sought some documents, officials added.

The same court, on 30 June, issued a notice to Mallya to appear before it on 27 August, after the ED charged the liquor baron under the new law. The central probe agency also sought immediate confiscation of assets worth around Rs 12,500 crore of Mallya as part of this latest action. The court had earlier issued non-bailable warrants against the businessman in two cases filed by the ED.

Mallya, his now defunct venture Kingfisher Airlines Ltd, and others availed loans from various banks and the outstanding amount, including interest, against him was around Rs 9,990.07 crore, the officials had said while filing the plea under the new law. Mallya is currently contesting his extradition case in London filed by the Indian government on behalf of the CBI and ED.

Mallya, in the past, had said that he had become the “poster boy” of bank default and a lightning rod for public anger. “I have been accused by politicians and the media alike of having stolen and run away with Rs 9,000 crore that was loaned to Kingfisher Airlines (KFA). Some of the lending banks have also labelled me a wilful defaulter.”

The ED furnished evidences in its two charge sheets, filed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in the past, to make a case for seeking a fugitive offender tag for Mallya from the court. He is currently contesting the money laundering charges in London after India initiated extradition proceedings to bring him back to the country. Both the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) have filed cases for alleged loan default against him.

The law has provisions for special courts under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 to declare a person as a fugitive economic offender and order immediate confiscation of assets. A fugitive economic offender is a person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued in respect of a scheduled offence and who has left India to avoid criminal prosecution, or being abroad, refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution. Cases of frauds, cheque dishonour or loan default of over Rs 100 crore would come under the ambit of the Ordinance.

source: livemint