NEW DELHI: A special court in Mumbai on Saturday declared absconding liquor baron Vijay Mallya a fugitive economic offender (FEO) on a plea of the Enforcement Directorate.
Mallya has become the first businessman to be declared FEO under the provisions of the new Fugitive Economic Offenders Act + which came into existence in August last year.
Special judge MS Azmi declared Mallya an FEO under Section 12 of the Act after hearing extensive arguments from the lawyer of Mallya and the ED counsel.
Last month, the court had rejected Mallya’s plea seeking a stay + on hearing of ED’s application to declare him a fugitive. The decision from the judicature had come after five parties, including a family member of Mallya, sought court dossiers with regard to the ED seeking to get Mallya declared a fugitive economic offender under the new law.
The special courts, under the new law, have a right to declare a person a fugitive economic offender. The courts can order immediate confiscation of the offenders’ properties and other assets. A fugitive economic offender is a person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued for committing a scheduled offence and who has left India to avoid criminal prosecution, or being abroad, refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution.
Mallya is also facing money-laundering charges in the United Kingdom after India initiated extradition proceedings against him. Both, ED along with Central Bureau of Investigation have filed several cases for alleged loan default against him.
The Westminster Magistrates Court in London on December 10 ordered the extradition of Mallya to India, who is facing charges of loan default to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore. Mallya left India in 2016, following which, the Indian government initiated extradition proceedings against him. The matter of Mallya’s extradition has now been referred to UK’s Secretary of State.
On Friday Parliament was informed that twenty-seven defaulting businessmen and economic offenders have fled the country in the last five years.
As per the ED, applications under Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 have been filed against seven persons out of these 27, the minister said. Shukla informed the House that Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London has recommended extradition of Vijay Mallya from the UK to India.
(With inputs from agencies)