Vijay Mallya, the liquor and aviation tycoon, was charged on Tuesday with conspiracy and fraud connected to a Rs 9 billion loan granted by a government-owned bank, a Central Bureau of Investigation spokesperson said.
The head of the Force India Formula One team and a former owner of Indian Premier League cricket team Royal Challengers Bangalore, Mallya moved to Britain last March after being pursued in courts by banks seeking to recover about $1.4 billion the authorities claim is owed by his Kingfisher airline.
The CBI, in its chargesheet, accused Mallya of diverting from India Rs 2.54 billion intended for the now-defunct airline.
In total, charges were brought against Mallya and nine other people, as well as the airline itself. A former chairman and managing director of the government bank, IDBI Bank Ltd , was arrested along with another four bank executives on Monday.
The CBI also arrested the airline’s chief financial officer and three senior officials.
The CBI spokesperson said the officials would be held in judicial custody until Monday, pending a bail hearing.
A spokesperson for Mallya coud not immediately be reached for comment despite calls and a text message.
The arrests made were the first since 2014, when the CBI initiated an enquiry into loans provided by the bank to the already debt-ridden airline.
The Mallya case has emerged against the backdrop of regulatory scrutiny over bank loans to over-extended companies.
The diplomatic passport Mallya was issued after his Rajya Sabha membership was revoked in April 2016 following a non-bailable warrant for his arrest.
Authorities had sought ways to have Mallya, who has said he is living in “forced exile”, deported by Britain.
In an interview with Reuters in 2016, Mallya said that he owed half of what was being reported. He also said he would return to India on the condition that he was “assured of a fair trial... if at all there needs to be a trial”.
The CBI action against Mallya may open the doors for India to begin work on a formal extradition process, after Britain rebuffed India’s deportation request last year.
The CBI refused to comment on possible extradition proceedings when contacted by Reuters on Tuesday.