Embattled businessman Vijay Mallya denied on Monday allegations that he had illegally moved almost half of a Rs 900 crore bank loan to acquire assets abroad.
Speaking on Mallya’s behalf, advocate Pranav Badeka told a city court: “Kingfisher Airlines made an application after reports suggested that Rs 430 crore was used to acquire assets outside the country. This is incorrect… we are filing an application to clarify things, and keep relevant facts so that the court does not get misled.”
The special anti-corruption court is hearing the Enforcement Directorate’s application for a non-bailable warrant against Mallya.
The ED had alleged before the court that the businessman had invested Rs 430 crore of the Rs 950 crore obtained as a loan from IDBI Bank in properties outside the country. The law enforcement agency had claimed that the money was remitted out of the country under various heads -- such as aircraft lease, import of spare parts and carrying out aircraft maintenance.
The ED has approached several countries – including Britain, France and the United States – over Kingfisher Airlines’ transactions. Some ED officials even suspect that money might have been parked in overseas tax havens.
The 60-year-old businessman – once known as the ‘King of Good Times’ for his flamboyant lifestyle – owns several properties in the US, South Africa, UK and France. Believed to be in the UK, he ignored three summons by the ED to appear for questioning in the case but claimed that he was not on the run from the law.
ED counsel Hiten Venegaonkar had earlier told a special court that though Mallya offered to answer its questions through video-conferencing and mail, investigations cannot “proceed as per the convenience of the accused”. He also expressed concern that the former liquor baron may tamper with the evidence or dispose of key evidence.
Earlier, a consortium of banks had rejected Mallya’s offer to pay Rs 4,000 crore by September towards settlement of his loan.
The Supreme Court has asked Mallya to disclose all assets owned by him and his family in India and abroad by April 21.