MUMBAI, March 7 - In fresh trouble for liquor baron Vijay Mallya, the Enforcement Directorate of India has registered a money laundering case against him and others in connection with the alleged default of over INR 900 crore loan from IDBI bank.
Official sources said the agency recently filed charges under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) based on an FIR registered last year by the CBI in the same case.
They said while the ED�s zonal office here has registered the case, sleuths are also looking at the overall financial structure of the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines and a separate probe under foreign exchange violation charges could also be initiated.
�Mallya and others will soon be questioned. The agency has collected relevant documents from concerned authorities and the bank in question,� they said.
The ED has pressed charges under various sections of the PMLA against Mallya and others named in the CBI complaint. The CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) had booked Mallya, director of Kingfisher Airlines, the company, A Raghunathan, Chief Financial Officer of the airlines, and unknown officials of IDBI Bank in its FIR alleging that the loan was sanctioned in violation of norms regarding credit limits.
The CBI action came as part of its wide probe into criminal aspects of loans declared to be non-performing assets by public sector banks. The ED is looking into the "proceeds of crime" that would have been generated using the slush funds of the alleged loan fraud, they said.
Meanwhile, in Bengaluru, the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) today barred Mallya from accessing USD 75 million (Rs 515 crore) exit payment from
Diageo till the loan default case with the State Bank of India is settled. DRT, allowing SBI plea, restrained Diageo from disbursing the money for now and set March 28 as the next date of hearing.
SBI had sought DRT�s intervention in seeking the lenders� first right on the USD 75-million payout from Diageo to Mallya as part of deal last month. Under the deal Mallya was to step down as chairman of India�s top spirits company United Spirits Ltd in a settlement with its new owner, Britain�s Diageo. Mallya was to settle down in London after the deal.
The SBI had filed three other applications, including one seeking Mallya�s arrest and impounding of his passport, and approached the DRT seeking action against him for defaulting on loans. The DRT in its order restraining Diageo from disbursing USD 75 million, said the amount has been attached pending disposal of original application.
The order came hours after Mallya said he was in talks with banks for a one-time settlement of debt that his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines owes. In a statement late last night, he had also stated that he had no plans to run away from his creditors. � PTI