Corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar has links with Vijay Mallya, ED tells court
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday informed a Delhi court that Deepak Talwar, who has been brought to India from the UAE in connection with a money-laundering case, has links with fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya.
To support its allegation, the ED’s lawyer submitted the copy of a purported email correspondence in 2018 between Talwar and Mallya, who is wanted in India to face charges of financial irregularities running into thousands of crores of rupees.
Earlier this month, the UK home secretary signed an order to extradite Mallya to India, almost two months after the Westminster Magistrates’ Court upheld India’s evidence against him and cleared his extradition.
“Investigation has revealed his (Talwar’s) links with fugitive Vijay Mallya when both the said persons were evading the process of law, and the investigation on the said aspect is ongoing for determining the trail of the tainted money in the instant case,” the ED told the Delhi court.
The ED brought Talwar to India in January-end on allegations that he acted as a middleman in negotiations to favour foreign private airlines causing the loss to national carrier Air India.
He was initially sent to the ED’s custody for seven days. On Thursday, the court extended his custody till February 12.
Talwar is accused of criminal conspiracy and forgery under the Indian Penal Code and under various other sections of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act for allegedly diverting Rs 90.72 crore of foreign funds received by his NGO from a missile manufacturing company.
Companies associated with Talwar were paid in excess of Rs 230 crore in connection with a 2009 case involving Air India, the ED told the court.
By questioning Talwar, the agency said, it wants to find out the names of officials the civil aviation ministry, the National Aviation Company of India Ltd (NACIL) and Air India who are suspected to have helped the alleged lobbyist.
The ED said his custody was essential to probe the tainted money that he allegedly received through different channels.
Talwar’s counsel, Tanveer Ahmad Mir, told the court that his client was being “hounded by the agency” to take name of the politicians.