Liquor baron Mallya declared fugitive

Mumbai: Liquor baron Vijay Mallya was on Saturday declared a fugitive economic offender by a special court here under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), becoming the first person to be declared so under the new law.

In the wake of the order by the Special PMLA court, Mallya’s properties can now be confiscated by the investigating agencies.

The court refused his application to stay the order to give him some time to appeal.

Last month, special PMLA Court had adjourned the order on the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) application seeking to declare Mallya a fugitive economic offender.

Last year in November, the court had rejected Mallya’s plea seeking a stay on hearing the ED’s application to declare him a fugitive offender.

The decision from the judicature comes after the five parties including a family member of Mallya had sought court dossiers with regard to the ED seeking to get Mallya declared a fugitive economic offender under the new law.

The special courts, under the new PMLA law, have the right to declare a person fugitive economic offender. The courts can order immediate confiscation of the offenders’ properties and other assets.

A fugitive economic offender is a person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued for committing a scheduled offense and who has left India to avoid criminal prosecution, or being abroad, refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution.

Mallya is also facing money-laundering charges in the United Kingdom after India initiated extradition proceedings against him. Both the ED along with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed several cases for alleged loan default against him.

On November 22 last year, the United Kingdom High Court issued an order asking Mallya to pay a hefty amount of GBP 88,000 to UBS Investment Bank, which had issued GBP 20.4 million in the mortgage loan for his London property, and ruled in favour of UBS to take possession of Mallya’s palatial Cornwall Terrace home.

The Westminster Magistrates Court in London on December 10 last year ordered the extradition of Mallya to India, who is facing charges of loan default to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore. Mallya left India in 2016, following which, the Indian government initiated extradition proceedings against him. The matter of Mallya’s extradition has now been referred to the UK’s Secretary of State.