The CBI will send judicial requests or Letters Rogatory (LR) to five countries, including the US and the UK, to seek details on the money trail connected to the alleged diversion of Rs 900 crore loan taken by liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s defunct Kingfisher Airlines (KA) from the IDBI bank.
The Central Bureau of Investigation’s decision to send requests to five countries for specific overseas transaction-related details was made after it received “a body of good details” from union finance ministry’s Financial Intelligence Unit, a CBI source said.
The LRs are in the “advanced process” of being sent to countries including the US, the UK, France, Hong Kong and Switzerland, according to the source.
Last July, the CBI registered a case to probe the alleged default by KA, which is defunct since 2012, on a Rs 900 crore loan from the public sector IDBI bank sanctioned in 2009. The CBI had named Mallya, then KA CFO A Raghunathan and other unknown bank officials, apart from KA, in its First Information Report (FIR).
The agency suspects that a major chunk of the loan was remitted abroad towards lease rentals and purchase of aircraft parts, via a private bank. A part of the loan was also deposited in the firm’s London bank account.
“Since these remittances have gone outside the country, further inquiry can only be made by sending Letters Rogatory (LR) for foreign investigation by taking up a regular case,” CBI inspector Varsha Verma had said in her recommendation after completing the preliminary inquiry into the matter on July 28, 2015.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) registered a money-laundering case against the same set of accused mentioned in the CBI FIR last month. Both the agencies widened their probes last month to examine suspected defaults on additional loans worth Rs 6100 crore from 16 other public sector banks including the SBI.
The agency suspects that there was an alleged “diversion” of a portion, equivalent to around $200 million, of the total loan sum to overseas countries and tax havens.
Its probe has found that there were over three lakh financial transactions through which a substantial portion of the loans worth Rs 7000 crore were allegedly transmitted abroad. These are a part of a total of five lakh such transactions that are linked to the total loan sum under the CBI scanner.
The three lakh transactions are roughly 60% of the total five lakh transactions, figures that are likely to go up as the probe progresses.