MUMBAI (Diya TV) — A special court in Mumbai have proclaimed Vijay Mallya, the former liquor baron, an offender in a money laundering case following the plea of the Enforcement Directorate.
“The ED application is allowed and proclamation is issued against Vijay Mallya,” ordered Special Judge P.R. Bhavke.
The embattled businessman is currently facing a multitude of charges under cases related to money laundering, loan fraud and the bouncing of checks. ED counsel Hiten Venegaonkar additionally informed the court that a no-bail warrant has been issued for Mallya, but was unable to be executed after the businessman fled India.
“Hence, a procedure under a section of the law to declare him a proclaimed offender to give him one last chance to present himself before the court must be adopted,” Venegaonkar told the court earlier.
The ED has issued multiple warrants for Mallya’s arrest under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, but approached the court to issue an order under section 82 of the country’s criminal procedure code for his evasion. The court can issue a written proclamation that requires the accused to appear at a specific place at a specified location within 30 days, according to section 82.
The court can attach the proclaimed offender status to the accused if it has sufficient reason to believe that the offender is absconding to avoid the issuance of a warrant.
“It’s an effective step towards securing the presence of Mallya and also one more chance to Mallya to come clean before the court in next 30 days. Failing which all his properties will be attached and sold by the government,” lawyer Nitin Venegaonkar said.
The ED is additionally looking to attach Mallya’s property if he fails to comply with the order.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs previously revoked his passport, and also tried to issue a warrant through the international police agency, Interpol. Mallya has been living in London, and the Indian government has begun the process of applying for his extradition using the provisions of the India-United Kingdom Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.
Mallya is in debt Rupees 9400 crore to nearly 20 different Indian banks, and reportedly fled the country back in March. He failed to appear before the probe agency in April, despite receiving three separate summons from the ED.