In yet another attempt towards brining absconding businessman Vijay Mallya back to face law in India, a joint team of CBI and ED has informed the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) of UK that the liquor baron laundered money taken from state-owned banks as part of a “criminal conspiracy”.
Times of India, in its report, cited sources saying that CPS, which will argue on May 17 on why Mallya should be extradited to India, had “strong points” of argument and the joint team of CBI and ED briefed it last week.
The team briefed the CPS how Mallya first convinced the banks that he was taking loan for the functioning of his Kingfisher Airlines. He then conspired with Yogesh Aggarwal, the then chairman of IDBI Bank, which extended a loan of Rs 900 crore to the airline which was already reeling under debt.
The total outstanding loan with interest now stands at Rs 9,000 crore.
The CBI and ED officials also told CPS how Mallya diverted the money to either shell companies in India or abroad. They also shared the details of places where money was laundered, including companies/accounts in UK.
The team presented another strong point to CPS in which they explained how Mallya escaped to London on March 2 just as when criminal investigation were initiated against him on the complaints of banks.
The officials also told CPS that Mallya fled to London after selling stakes in his companies, pointing it out as “part of criminal conspiracy”, and showed that there was “no intention” to repay the loans.
The development comes to light two days after the Supreme Court found Mallya guilty of contempt and summoned him to personally appear on July 10.
The top court’s decision came while hearing a plea by a consortium of banks, who moved the Supreme Court after Mallya received $40 million (approx. Rs 260 crore) from British firm Diageo Plc in February 2016 and allegedly transferred the money to his children, instead of repaying loans that he owes to the banks.
The options for Mallya appear to be dwindling. As India’s agencies step up their diplomatic efforts to push UK for his extradition, the top court’s latest order asking him to appear him before it builds the pressure against him. Failing to appear before the SC as directed will invite a non-bailable arrest warrant against him.
In such a scenario, as and when Mallya does return to the country, he will be arrested the moment he steps foot on Indian soil.