Beleaguered businessman Vijay Mallya was on Tuesday declared a proclaimed offender by a special PMLA court here on a plea by the Enforcement Directorate(ED) in connection with its money laundering probe against him in an alleged bank loan default case.
The agency which investigates financial crimes had said this must done as the 60-year-old businessman has ignored a series of orders to return to India to face investigations and his creditors.
The agency had moved the court to issue an order under Section 82 CrPC and term the liquor baron a proclaimed offender as he has “multiple” arrest warrants pending against him including a non-bailable warrant (NBW) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
"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 government," said lawyer Nitin Venegaonkar, representing the ED.
This comes just two days after Mr Mallya released a statement calling the investigation against him "heavily biased" for what he said was a genuine business failure and said that he was being held guilty without trial. He has denied all charges against him.
The ED has also said that it is in touch with Interpol to release a red corner notice, similar to an international arrest warrant, against Mr Mallya, who is believed to be living in the UK.
New Delhi, which had cancelled Mr Mallya's passport in April, had formally requested London that he be deported, which is faster than the process of extradition under a treaty between two governments. But Britain has told India that it can't deport the liquor baron under its laws but can help with his extradition.
"We are working on the due process of law to bring Mallya back to India," Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said last week.
Mr Mallya to London on March 2 as banks attempted to recover around Rs 9,000 crore loaned to his collapsed Kingfisher Airlines. The flamboyant businessman is also being investigated for money-laundering.