Embattled liquor baron Vijay Mallya told a special court in London on Monday that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) “resisted” his efforts to settle his loans with public sector banks.
Mallya, who is currently in the United Kingdom, has been charged by the ED of defaulting on bank loans to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore.
Mallya, through his counsel, was replying in the PMLA court of Judge M S Azmi to an ED application seeking that he be declared a fugitive under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act.
In his reply, Mallya stated that “despite continuing efforts over the last two to three years, when efforts have been made to repay the public sector banks, instead of taking steps to facilitate the process of repayment to banks, the ED has, at every step, resisted this effort”.
Mallya’s reply also stated that the ED’s application, in its endeavour to confiscate assets, is one which is contrary to public and national interest.
Objecting to the ED plea to declare him a fugitive, Mallya mentioned that he has been cooperating with the authorities in the UK in extradition proceedings and has submitted himself to the jurisdiction and process of the UK courts- a process invoked at the behest of the government of India.
Mallya’s reply contended that, in these circumstances, it was false to contend that he “refuses to return to India”, adding that “adherence to the law of the land cannot and doesn’t render one as fugitive economic offender”.
The arguments in the extradition proceedings in UK have concluded and the matters are to be listed on December 10 for judgement, the reply read.
Mallya’s reply sought that present proceedings ought to be stayed or adjourned sine die till the judgement is delivered in the extradition proceedings (in the UK).
Meanwhile, the ED Monday filed its say in the intervention application moved by some parties seeking to implead themselves in the matter.
The PMLA court on Monday set September 28 as the next date for hearing on the intervention application.
The main application (to declare Mallya fugitive) will be heard after its order on the intervention plea, the judge said.
The court had earlier issued non-bailable warrants against the businessman in two cases filed by the ED.
Mallya, his now defunct venture Kingfisher Airlines Limited and others availed loans from various banks and the outstanding amount, including interest, now stands at Rs 9,990.07 crore.
Both the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) have filed cases for alleged loan default against him.
The Fugitive Economic Offenders Act has provisions for special courts under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) to declare a person as a fugitive economic offender and order immediate confiscation of assets.
The law lays down that a fugitive economic offender is a person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued in respect of a scheduled offence and who has left India so as to avoid criminal prosecution, or being abroad, refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution.
Cases of fraud, cheque dishonour or loan default of over Rs 100 crore come under the ambit of this law.
(With PTI inputs)