Vijay Mallya finally faces government ire: Rs. 100-crore shares transferred
Vijay Mallya, chairman of the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines Ltd, is finally facing the ire of the enforcement directorate (ED) as his assets begin to be confiscated. The Stock Holding Corporation of India Ltd (SHCIL) has transferred Rs. 100cr worth of shares of United Breweries Ltd (UBL) held by Mallya to the central government. Mallya, meanwhile, has been absconding since March. Know more!
What was the ED's complaint against Mallya?
The ED claimed Mallya-owned Kingfisher had allegedly defaulted on loans worth Rs. 6,000 crore. Moreover, it had embezzled Rs. 430cr from an IDBI loan to buy properties abroad. They claimed Mallya was "an active participant in the generation of proceeds of crime and the activity of money laundering" under PMLA. Mallya had also allegedly hidden about Rs. 1,760cr of assets in shell companies abroad.
What is the PMLA?
The 2002 Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) prevents money laundering, i.e. the process of making money illegally through criminal activities and processing the same to make it appear as "legitimate money." Further, it provides for seizing the properties of those accused of laundering money.
Mallya's non-appearance in court worsened matters
Eventually, ED asked Mallya to appear in court in the loan default case, but he didn't come. An individual can be declared a proclaimed offender when they deliberately avoid legal proceedings. Courts can then confiscate property attached by ED. Hence SHCIL was directed to transfer shares to the Centre. Earlier, ED had attached Mallya's shares of Rs. 4,000cr in UBL and firms.
So where is Mallya now?
Mallya is on a self-imposed exile in UK to avoid getting booked in India for financial offences. In April, Mallya was arrested in UK on an Indian complaint but was released soon on bail. The ED has registered this PMLA complaint with the UK's crown prosecution service (CPS), India's representative in Mallya's extradition case. The final hearing will begin on December 4.
Will India be able to get him back?
India and UK have had an extradition treaty since 1993. However, it seems like a safe haven as many "wanted" people like Lalit Modi and Nadeem Saifi haven't been extradited. Mallya also has chances for appeal. But CPS insists this time, the paperwork is strong.