SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — India’s Enforcement Directorate (ED) are beginning preparations to attach assets worth more than Rs 6,000 crore of embattled liquor baron Vijay Mallya and various family members’ in connection with the money laundering and loan fraud probe he is the main subject of.
The move for a second round of property seizures gained further momentum after Mallya, who is currently residing in England, failed to appear before the special court dealing with cases under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. Mallya and his associates are alleged to have diverted a portion of the loans they received to offshore businesses, a blatant violation of Reserve Bank of India policies.
According to multiple reports, the Enforcement Directorate have identified both moveable and immoveable assets belonging to Mallya, including shares belonging to himself and family members in United Breweries Group and United Spirits Limited that have been pledged with banks. These assets have been among others pegged for seizure, they will be frozen while the ongoing investigation is pending.
The ED had previously attached his properties worth about Rs 1,411 crore as part of the case a few months ago.
Additionally, the agency is in the process of getting a “proclaimed person” order issued from the special court. If obtained, the order will be forwarded to the ministry of external affairs for getting Mallya extradited from the UK so that he presents himself for the investigation.
In June, a Mumbai court declared Mallya an offender in money laundering and the ED sought to have a proclamation order issued against Mallya as he had multiple warrants pending against him, including a no-bail warrant under the PMLA, requiring him to join the investigation in person. The ED had already sought to invoke the India-United Kingdom Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty to have Mallya extradited from Britain.
Adding further insult to injury, a Delhi court on Saturday issued a second no-bail warrant for Mallya’s arrest, this stemming from a 2012 check bouncing case.
Assets belonging to his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines have already been taken over by banks and put up for auction twice to recover unpaid loans. However, the banks have not been able to find any takers — the second auction for Kingfisher House last week proved fruitless after no bidder turned up, even at a reduced reserve price of Rs 135 crore.
Bankers said that they may have to further lower the reserve price, which was set at Rs 150 crore in the earlier auction in March, which had failed to attract any prospective buyer.