ED to file fresh money laundering charge sheet against Mallya

RSTV Bureau
File photo. PTI

File photo.
PTI

In more trouble for liquor baron Vijay Mallya, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is set to soon file a fresh charge sheet against him and his companies on charges of money laundering and allegedly cheating a consortium of nationalised banks to the tune of Rs 6,027 crore.

With this charge sheet, the central probe agency will immediately seek from a court permission to “confiscate” more than Rs 9,000 crore worth assets of the beleaguered businessman and his firms under the recently promulgated Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance.

The ED last year had filed its first charge sheet against Mallya, now in London, in the about Rs 900 crore IDBI bank-Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) alleged bank loan fraud case. It has attached assets worth Rs 9,890 crore in this case till now.

The forthcoming charge sheet will revolve around the complaint received from the State Bank of India (SBI) on behalf of the consortium of banks for causing loss of Rs 6,027 crore to them by not keeping repayment commitments of his loan (by Mallya firms) taken during 2005-10, they said.

The ED has based its investigation in this instance after taking cognisance of a CBI FIR and the charge sheet will be filed before a special court in Mumbai under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

It was alleged that SBI and its consortium banks had advanced various credit facilities to KFA Limited during the period between 2005 and 2010.

The ED, officials said, had found that a maze of shell or dummy firms were used to allegedly siphon off these funds and this is expected to be stated in the upcoming charge sheet.

The agency, empowered by the Union government to enact the new fugitive ordinance in the country, will seek an official declaration to categorise Mallya as a “fugitive” on the basis of the cognisance of this prosecution complaint (charge sheet).

Mallya is contesting these charges in London as part of India’s efforts to extradite him from there and face the legal system here in connection with these charges.

The central probe agency had recently begun the work to bring together the existing cases of high-value bank loan defaulters for getting them notified under the new legislation. As per the existing process of law under the PMLA, the ED can confiscate assets only after trial in a case finishes which usually takes many years.

The ordinance makes 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.

(With inputs from PTI)