In more trouble for Vijay Mallya, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has registered a fresh money laundering case against him and his associates to investigate the alleged loan default of Rs 6,027 crore availed from a consortium of nationalised banks. The case was taken over by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) recently.
Officials said that the agency has filed the second criminal case under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after it recently obtained details of the case from the CBI, which filed a first information report (FIR) after getting a complaint from the State Bank of India (SBI).
The CBI had earlier this month filed a fresh case under Sections of the Indian Penal Code related to criminal conspiracy and cheating against Mallya on the basis of a complaint received from SBI on behalf of the consortium of lenders for allegedly causing a loss of Rs 6,027 crore to them by not keeping repayment commitments of the loan, taken during 2005-10.
By registering the fresh case, the ED wants to strengthen its probe against the beleagured liquor baron and expedite a slew of actions it has initiated against him, including getting issued a global arrest warrant by Interpol and attaching more of his assets under the stringent PMLA. Besides these steps, it also wants to invoke the India-UK Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty to force Mallya to return and join the investigation.
Besides Mallya, his companies Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) and United Breweries Holdings Limited have also been named as accused in the CBI FIR, which is now part of the ED case. Both the Central probe agencies had earlier filed cases of alleged default by the now-defunct KFA in repayment of loans obtained from IDBI.
The ED is also preparing to soon start a second round of assets attachments under PMLA after the embattled businessman early this month skipped appearance before a special PMLA court in Mumbai. The agency, sources said, has identified some pledged shares, associated immovable and movable assets of Mallya and his family members that would be seized and frozen as part of its action plan.