An arrest warrant has been issued against liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who has rebutted assertions that he drained about half a 900 crore loan to his Kingfisher Airlines, to buy property overseas.

A special court in Mumbai is hearing the case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against Vijay
Mallya, who reportedly flew to London on March 2, and has so far refused to make an appearance in Mumbai for catechism vis-a-vis a loan given to him in 2009 by the state run IDBI bank, and bouncing of cheques issued in favour of GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited towards user charges.

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) was told by his United Breweries Group that its facts are incorrect and that the money spent abroad was for lawful business dealings, and that full details will be provided in the coming days.

ED said they will now wait for Mr Mallya’s response, ahead of Union External Ministry’s move to suspend his diplomatic passport with immediate effect for a month. ED added that it will wait for his response, following which actions will be taken, such as a Red Corner Notice or extradition request can be made.

The former liquor baron is being interrogated for allegedly taking loans for funding his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines (KFA). Reportedly, Mallya first acquired loans from IDBI bank in 2006. Later in 2009, he also received loans from a consortium of 17 banks, however, the loans were never repaid.

The banks termed him a ‘wilful defaulter’. Since then he is believed to have flown to the UK.
On March 30, Mr Mallya’s counsel told the consortium about Mallya offering to pay the outstanding dues worth Rs 4,000 crore against the grounded KFA, on account of loans extended by the consortium, headed by the SBI. The banks, however, have fended off his offer.

– By Isha Kulkarni

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