Court declares Vijay Mallya a fugitive economic offender under new law

Vijay Mallya.

Vijay Mallya.   | Photo Credit: AP

He is the first person to be declared so under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act and government can now confiscate all his properties.

Absconding liquor baron Vijay Mallya on Saturday became the first person to be declared a fugitive economic offender by the special court hearing cases under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act (FEOA).

The FEOA, which became a law on July 31, 2018, allows for declaring a person as an offender after an arrest warrant has been issued against the individual and the value of offences exceeds ₹100 crore.

Another condition for declaring a person a fugitive economic offender (FEO) is when the individual refuses to return to the country to face prosecution in the specified cases.

Several non bailable warrants were issued against Mr. Mallya, who was declared a ‘proclaimed offender’ and an ‘absconder’ by the special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court.

As per the new law, a special FEOA court can order the confiscation of a FEO’s properties, including those which are benami, and the proceeds of crime in and outside India. Once properties are confiscated, the Union government has the right over them, and it can dispose them after 90 days.

Judge M.S. Azmi said the court was partly allowing the Enforcement Directorate’s application, through its counsel Hiten Venegavkar on June 22, 2018, which sought to declare Mr. Mallya a fugitive economic offender and confiscate all his properties, estimated to be worth ₹12,500 crore.

The court said it would consider the second part of the application, on confiscation of properties, mentioned in the application when it hears the matter on February 5, when all intervenors in the case would be heard.

The intervenors include the State Bank of India, Diageo Plc, Standard Chartered Bank, Mr. Mallya’s step mother, Ritu Mallya, the official liquidator of the Karnataka High Court and Heineken NV.

When senior counsel Amit Desai, representing Mr. Mallya, sought a stay on the order as he wanted to move an appeal to the higher court, the judge declined stating that the court had no power to issue such an order.

The ED had filed two separate complaints registered under PMLA for investigation of money laundering against Mr. Mallya, Kingfisher Airlines Limited (KAL) and United Breweries Holdings Limited (UBHL). The agency has reported to have attached assets worth approximately ₹ 4,234.84 crore, claiming them to be proceeds of crime from both the entities.

Mr. Mallya, who left the country in March 2016, was arrested by the U.K. Metropolitan Police’s extradition unit on April 18, 2017. On December 10, 2018, a U.K. court ordered that Mr. Mallya could be extradited.


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Printable version | Aug 3, 2020 2:04:29 AM |

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