The court may now ask Mallya to summon before it
Sreekanth A. Nair
A special court in Mumbai declared liquor baron Vijay Mallya a proclaimed offender in a money laundering case following the plea of the Enforcement Directorate, reported The Times of India.
“The ED application is allowed and proclamation is issued against Vijay Mallya,” ordered Special Judge P.R. Bhavke.
The businessman is facing several charges under cases relating to money laundering, loan fraud, and check bouncing. ED counsel Hiten Venegaonkar also informed the court that a non-bailable warrant has also been issued against Mallya. But the order could not be executed as he 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 informed the court that it had issued multiple warrants against Mallya under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). But ED approached the court to issue an order under section 82 of the criminal procedure code (CrPC) as the businessman evaded all the warrants.
According to section 82 of CrPC, the court can issue a written proclamation requiring the accused person to summon at a specified place at a specified time within 30 days from the date of issuing the same.
A court can term a person as a proclaimed offender if it has sufficient reasons to believe that the offender is absconding so that a warrant of arrest issued against him/her cannot be executed.
“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, told NDTV.
The agency is also looking forward to attaching the property of Mallya if he fails to comply with the procedure under section 82 of CrPC.
The Ministry of External Affairs had revoked the passport of Mallya earlier and had tried to issue an Interpol warrant against the founder of the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines who is living in London now.
The government has started procedures to extradite Mallya to India using the provisions of the India-United Kingdom Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT).
Mallya owes about Rupees 9400 crore to 17 Indian banks. Mallya reportedly left Indian on March 2 and failed to show up before the probe agency on April 9, despite receiving a summons sent by Enforcement Directorate (ED) three times.