Vijay Mallya’s case to be first under new law on fugitive offenders
If Vijay Mallya does not appear before the court on August 27, he risks being declared a fugitive economic offender, besides properties linked to him being confiscated.
On August 27, a special court in Mumbai hearing a case against Vijay Mallya will decide whether the former liquor baron can be tagged a “fugitive economic offender” under the new law passed by Parliament on Thursday.
Mallya’s case will be followed by similar applications by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi. The duo have been summoned by a special court hearing matters pertaining to violations of the money laundering act, on September 25 and 26, respectively. These applications were filed by ED when the new Fugitive Economic Offenders Act was still an ordinance.
ED’s application against Mallya was filed in June, soon after the agency filed its second charge sheet in the case against him. The court has summoned him on August 27. If the promoter of the defunct Kingfisher Airlines does not appear before the court, he risks being declared a fugitive economic offender, besides properties linked to him being confiscated.
The ‘fugitive’ status to the beleaguered liquor baron will help ED attach assets worth over ₹12,500 crore. The agency has already confiscated Mallya’s assets worth ₹9,700 crore. The flamboyant businessman, now in the UK, defaulted on loans and fled India days before a debt recovery tribunal’s order. There have been reports that with the new law coming into force, Mallya could be open to returning to India rather than risk having his properties seized.
The ED has sought to attach ₹3,500 crore of assets belonging to the diamond traders located in the UK, United Arab Emirates and India. “Under the new law most of our attachments will be of overseas properties of economic offenders,” said a senior ED official who did not wish to be named.
Meanwhile, the Antigua government has indicated that it may consider “a legitimate request” from India to send back the uncle of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, who has taken citizenship there, said a newspaper report in that country.