The Enforcement Directorate (ED) will likely seek Interpol’s cooperation to have liquor baron Vijay Mallya deported to India, similar to how gangster Chhota Rajan was brought back after he was arrested in Indonesia last year.
A non-bailable warrant (NBW) was issued by a Mumbai court against Mallya on April 18, opening the doors for the ED to seek a Red Corner Notice (RCN) – the global police body’s alert that facilitates arrest anywhere across the world and subsequent detention. However, the NBW itself cannot be implemented as Mallya left India a month ago. The 60-year-old businessman left India on March 2 as creditor banks closed in on him to recover a Rs 9,200-crore debt owed by Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) Limited, Mallya’s defunct airline company.
Mallya, a Rajya Sabha MP, ignored three summons to appear before the ED, leading to the external affairs ministry suspending his diplomatic passport and threatening to revoke it unless Mallya responded within a week. Mallya had earlier sought time till May to join the investigations, posting on Twitter that he wasn’t on the run and would abide by the law. He had also offered to pay Rs 4,000 crore by September to settle the loan, an offer the banks rejected. His current whereabouts are unknown, though it is believed he left for the UK.
A source said the warrant will help ED approach courts for “permission to initiate extradition proceedings against Mallya.” Once the courts give permission, the ED can approach the external affairs ministry to get in touch with UK authorities for Mallya’s extradition.
A RCN mandates a member country to detain or arrest a person staying in its territory for handing him or her to a country where he or she is wanted in an investigation. Mumbai gangster Chhota Rajan was handed over to India in November last year by Indonesian authorities after he was detained on the basis of a pending RCN.
There is a catch though: The RCN will only be issued after Interpol verifies the merits of the request.
Efforts to arrest former IPL chief Lalit Modi using the same protocol have been in the works since last August. However, there have been constant delays as the Interpol has yet to green-light the request. A recent brainstorming video conference session between the two agencies’ officials did not break the stalemate either. India seeks to extradite Modi from the UK to face a money-laundering case probe.
ED’s plan to secure Mallya’s custody may seem effective but there is a catch: The RCN will only be issued after the Interpol verifies the merits of the request.
Efforts to arrest former IPL chief Lalit Modi using the same protocol have been in the works since last August. However, there have been constant delays over Interpol examining the merit of the request. A recent brainstorming session between the two agencies’ officials via video-conferencing did not break the stalemate either. India seeks to extradite Modi from the UK to face a money-laundering case probe.
Mallya is being investigated under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) for a Rs 950 crore-loan from IDBI as well as loan defaults amounting to Rs 9,200 crore from public sector banks.
While issuing the NBW, the Mumbai court rejected the KFA’s application denying the ED’s claim that Rs 430 crore was siphoned off from the Rs 950 crore-IDBI loan and was allegedly used to acquire properties abroad.