A case of money laundering against Vijay Mallya, has been registered by the Indian Enforcement Directorate (ED), who helmed the now obsolete Kingfisher Airlines. The move by ED, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), comes after the CBI registered a FIR against Kingfisher Airlines in July 2015. Along with Mallya, the CBI has also registered the FIR against A Raghunathan, chief financial officer of Kingfisher Airlines, and few unknown officials of the IDBI Bank.
The company owes at least Rs 7,000 crore to 17 banks; some of them such as the State Bank of India and Punjab National bank have already named Mallya and his company as a “wilful defaulter”.
Recently, the Debts Recovery Tribunal passed orders restraining multinational alcoholic beverages company, Diageo Plc, from paying Mallya Rs 515 crore as part of an agreement to exit Diageo-owned United Spirits Limited.
It is purported that the loans were authorized in contravention of norms concerning credit limits. Mallya’s spokesperson dismissed to comment. But ED sources said it will investigate if the money lent to Kingfisher was deflected to tax havens abroad.
“We have started investigating the case but as of now have no intention of interrogating Mallya”, said an ED officer. The ED is looking into the “proceeds of crime” that would have been created using the slush funds of the alleged loan fraud, they said. Vijay Mallya, owner of kingfisher airlines recently stated that he is not an absconder and is being made the target. He expressed his interest in coming to India to defend himself but feels that the timing is not right. Mallya said, “I’m not sure I’ll get a fair chance to present my side. I’ve already been branded a criminal. I do not feel the time is right. But I hope that I return one day. India has given me everything”.
When asked about his current location (there have been reports that he may be in Hertfordshire), he said, "I do not think it is wise for me to reveal my whereabouts. I'm no hardened criminal who authorities need to hunt". The statements made by Malaya implicate that he will not be heeding to the summons and probably will not be returning to India soon.