The Enforcement Directorate has registered a money-laundering case against Vijay Mallya and the CFO of Kingfisher Airlines A. Raghunathan in connection with the CBI’s probe into the alleged default of a Rs. 900-crore loan in collusion with IDBI officials. The ED is pursuing the case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act to trace the transactions pertaining to a suspected diversion of funds.
The ED has received a copy of the CBI case of corruption and criminal conspiracy registered in October last against Mr. Mallya as director of Kingfisher Airlines, Mr. Raghunathan and unknown IDBI officials. It has sought the loan-sanction papers from the bank for scrutiny.
The ED will soon summon Mr. Mallya and the other accused to record their statements.
The CBI, in its own case, has alleged that the loan was sanctioned and disbursed to the company in violation of banking rules. The agency had quizzed Mr. Mallya in this connection in December last year.
A preliminary enquiry into the allegations was initiated about four years ago. The agency found that bank officials “colluded” with Kingfisher Airlines’ promoters or directors and the chief financial officer to sanction the loan despite an adverse internal audit report highlighting the risks involved.
In fact, the firm had defaulted on repayment of loans from a consortium of 17 banks, of which IDBI was a part.
The company owed about Rs.7,800 crore to the State Bank of India-led consortium.
The Directorate’s move to investigate money-laundering charges comes in the backdrop of the Karnataka High Court order last week to issue notice to Mr. Mallya and nine others based on a petition filed by SBI and 12 other banks.