Beleaguered businessman Vijay Mallya was today declared a proclaimed offender by a special PMLA court in Mumbai 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 ED application is allowed and proclamation is issued against Vijay Mallya," ordered Special Judge PR Bhavke.
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).
According to the ED, there are multiple arrest warrants pending against Mallya in various cases like that of cheque bounce and he is also wanted in a money laundering case.
The agency has told the court about the status of investigations in the case and the need to get Mallya join the probe.
A person can be termed a proclaimed offender in a criminal case probe if the court has reasons to believe that the accused against whom a warrant of arrest has been issued by it, has absconded or is concealing himself so that such warrant cannot be executed.
As per Section 82 of the CrPC, the court can publish a written proclamation requiring such an accused to appear at a specified place and at a specified time in not less than 30 days from the date of publishing of such a proclamation.
Officials said that the agency also has the option to seek action under Section 83 of the CrPC (attachment of property of person absconding) if Mallya does not comply with proceedings initiated under Section 82.
ED has been wanting Mallya to join investigations "in person" in its PMLA probe against him and others in the Rs 900 crore alleged loan fraud of IDBI bank and has virtually exhausted all legal remedies like seeking an Interpol arrest warrant and getting his passport revoked.
It is also seeking to invoke the India-United Kingdom Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) to extradite Mallya from Britain.
Mallya had left India on March 2 using his diplomatic passport.
The agency has registered a money laundering case against Mallya and others based on an FIR registered last year by the CBI.
ED is also investigating financial structure of Kingfisher Airlines and looking into any payment of kickbacks to secure loans.
On Saturday, the ED had attached assets worth Rs 1,411 crore of Mallya and one of his companies in connection with its money laundering probe in the bank loan case.
It is also seeking to invoke the India-United Kingdom Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) to have him extradited from Britain.