January 4, 2019
The special PMLA Court in Mumbai will pronounce its verdict on an application moved by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to declare Vijay Mallya a Fugitive Economic Offender (FEO) on Saturday.
If the court declares Mallya a fugitive, then he would be the first to be so under the newly formed Fugitive Economic Offenders Act (FEOA).
Upon declaring Mallya a fugitive, the agency will be able to confiscate all his properties irrespective of them being purchased within the proceeds of crime or not. This would also include his properties in Karnataka, United Kingdom and others that are yet to be confiscated by the agency.
“There are two aspects of this development – first this is a new law and second, it is a very stringent law. This law will help the agency confiscate all properties of Vijay Mallya whether they are within the proceeds of crime or outside and will be disposed off. This will be an added advantage for extradition matter which is pending before the UK ministry. It will be to the advantage of the country. The PMLA court has dismissed all applications filed by Mallya’s counsels,” said senior advocate and ED counsel Hiten Venegaonkar.
The order could be passed under the Section 2F of FEOA against Mallya by the PMLA court.
Section 2F of FEOA states that those who have travelled outside the country after committing the crime and have refused to appear before the court to face the trial, those persons against whom non-bailable warrants have been issued but because they are outside the country and the warrant cannot be executed, could also be declared an FEO under the FEOA.
However, if the PMLA court declares Mallya an FEO, then arguments by Mallya’s business or property partners and all those who have filed interventions against the confiscation of property will have to be heard by the court before the confiscation can actually happen.
Mallya is accused of defrauding a consortium of banks to the tune of Rs 9,000 crores while he also faces cases from agencies tax evasion, with the Enforcement Directorate accusing him of laundering the proceeds of crime overseas.
Mallya fled the country on March 2, 2016 and since then, has been living in the UK.
On 18 April 2017, Mallya was arrested by the UK Metropolitan Police extradition unit on behalf of the Indian authorities, but was released on bail, pending further consideration of the case.
The United Kingdom court issued orders that Vijay Mallya should be extradited from Britain to India to face fraud charges resulting from the collapse of his defunct Kingfisher Airlines on December 10.