Liquor baron Vijay Mallya has reportedly expressed his intention to return to India. The Enforcement Directorate - one of the agencies probing Vijay Mallya - has received inputs that the beleaguered tycoon wants to come back to face the legal proceedings, India Today reported.
The development comes weeks after a special court summoned Vijay Mallya to appear before it on August 27 on the ED's plea seeking action against him under the fugitive economic offenders ordinance (FEOO) - which was brought-in to deal with those bank defaulters who have fled the country.
If Mallya does not appear before the court, he could be declared a fugitive economic offender after which probing agencies would start the process of confiscating all his properties within and outside India. The ordinance has provisions for special courts under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act-2002 to declare a person as a fugitive economic offender and order immediate confiscation of assets.
According to the government description, a fugitive economic offender is a person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued in respect of a scheduled offence and who has left India so as to avoid criminal prosecution, or being abroad, refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution.
In June, the ED moved court against Mallya seeking to declare him a 'fugitive offender' and to confiscate his assets worth Rs 12,500 crore. The agency filed an application before a special court in Mumbai under the recently promulgated FEOO that empowers it to confiscate "all linked assets" of an absconding bank defaulter.
Vijay Mallya is the main accused in a Rs 9,000 crore alleged bank fraud case.
Earlier this month, a UK High Court judge grants permission to the enforcement officer and his agents to enter Vijay Mallya's properties near London, including Ladywalk and Bramble Lodge in Tewin, Welwyn to search for and take control of goods belonging to [him]. The order by Justice Byran noted that "The High Court Enforcement Officer, including any Enforcement Agent acting under his authority, may use reasonable force to enter the Property if necessary".
Mallya is contesting the money laundering charges in London after India initiated extradition proceedings against the liquor baron to bring him back to the country. A verdict on his extradition in the UK court is expected by early September, with July 31 the final date for closing oral submissions and appeals likely whatever the outcome.
(With inputs from PTI)