ED to invoke fugitive offenders ordinance against Mallya

Vijay Mallya. File

Vijay Mallya. File

The Enforcement Directorate will soon approach a special court to initiate the process for getting businessman Vijay Mallya declared an absconder under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance. The law allows for confiscation and even disposal of all the assets of fugitives in India and overseas.

The agency is expected to move the application in about a week, given that nearly all the paper work in the case has been completed. The Directorate has already filed chargesheets against Mr. Mallya, against whom extradition proceedings are currently under way in a United Kingdom court. He has also been declared a proclaimed offender.

As part of the proceedings against Mr. Mallya and others under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the ED has so far attached or seized properties worth more than ₹9,600 crore. They also include the businessman’s shares worth ₹1,620 crore held in United Breweries Holdings Limited, United Breweries Limited and United Spirits Limited.

The agency has also zeroed in on several assets linked to Mr. Mallya in countries like the United Kingdom, United States, France, Scotland and South Africa. Proceedings against him under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance can lead to confiscation of such properties.

Six-week time

Under the Ordinance, on acceptance of the application, the court can issue a notice giving six-week time to the accused to appear and in case the order is not complied with, the person is declared a fugitive. The law can be invoked against only those who are involved in economic offences involving at least ₹100 crore.

The court may also confiscate properties of the accused, following which all the rights and titles of such assets will be vested in the Central government. The court may also direct disposal of the confiscated properties.

Mr. Mallya had flown out to the U.K. on March 2, 2016, after which the External Affairs Ministry revoked his diplomatic passport on the Directorate’s request.

Nirav Modi case

In the case of Nirav Modi, the main accused in the ₹13,578-crore Punjab National Bank fraud along with his uncle Mehul Choksi, the ED is awaiting the court’s cognisance of its chargesheet filed against him to move an application under the ordinance. The next hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

Mr. Nirav Modi was travelling on an Indian passport till March 31, as recently informed by Interpol to Indian agencies, and is also said to have shifted out of the United Kingdom. His current whereabouts are unknown.

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Printable version | Sep 30, 2022 7:16:34 am |