A non-bailable arrest warrant has been issued against Vijay Mallya for allegedly siphoning off nearly half of the 900-crore loan to his Kingfisher Airlines, to buy property abroad. A special court in Mumbai has issued the warrant against the liquor baron, who has refuted the allegations.
The court was hearing cases under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against Mallya, who left for London in March. He has so far refused to present himself in Mumbai for interrogation in connection with a loan given to him in 2009 by state-run IDBI bank.
The PMLA court had reserved its order till April 18 on the plea of Enforcement Directorate (ED), the central agency tasked with fighting financial crimes, for a warrant against the beleaguered businessman.
Earlier, the PMLA court rejected the application moved by Kingfisher Airlines terming as “false and incorrect” the charges against its owner Mallya that he had siphoned off Rs 430 crore of the IDBI loan and used this money to acquire property abroad. The company said he would provide full details of foreign exchange remittances in the next few days.
“In order to explain foreign exchange remittances all of which have been fully accounted for, we will provide full details in the next few days,” UB Group said in a statement.
It said the audited accounts of Kingfisher Airlines show that the money was borrowed for legitimate business purpose and that the allegation was “shocking”.
“The allegation made by the Enforcement Directorate before the PMLA court that they have stumbled upon evidence that Rs 430 crores was transferred overseas for property acquisition is strenuously denied,” it said.
The statement said, “The audited accounts of Kingfisher Airlines including for the year ended 31.3.2010 show all foreign exchange transactions which includes funds borrowed from IDBI Bank were used for legitimate business purposes only.”
Multiple investigations have been going on since July 2015 and this allegation has never been made, the statement said. “We are shocked at the allegation made by the Enforcement Department before the PMLA Court for the very first time,” it said, adding that “the basis of seeking a Non Bailable Warrant against our Chairman is erroneous and unjustified”.
On April 15, the Ministry of External Affairs had suspended the diplomatic passport of Mallya, a Rajya Sabha MP- – seen as a first step towards attempts to have him deported if he does not return on his own.
The ED had issued summons to Mallya thrice, which he has chosen to ignore. His earlier extensions were on March 18 and April 2 citing official reasons. The maximum time allowed under PMLA is three times.