Tribune News Service
Mumbai, January 5
A special court set up under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on Saturday declared absconding liquor baron Vijay Mallya a ‘fugitive economic offender’ which allows the Indian government to confiscate his properties under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018.
Mallya is the first industrialist to be declared an FEO under the law enacted by the Narendra Modi government last year.
Hearing a petition filed by the Enforcement Directorate, Special Judge MS Azmi of the PMLA court declared Mallya an FEO under Section 12 of the Act. A plea by Mallya’s counsel to stay the order declaring the industrialist an FEO in order to enable him to file an appeal was also rejected by the court.
The special PMLA court will now begin hearing arguments for attachment of Mallya’s properties on February 5.
According to officials here, the government will now be in a position to confiscate Mallya’s properties whether or not they were purchased from proceeds of any crime he has been charged with. Apart from his stake-holding in companies, the government would now be in a position to begin process for confiscating properties owned by Mallya abroad, including in the United Kingdom where he is presently based, officials said here.
Last December, a court in the United Kingdom ordered Mallya’s extradition to India. He has, however, filed an appeal against the order on the grounds that the case against him was politically motivated.
Mallya also claimed that he had availed of loans from banks to keep his ailing Kingfisher Airlines operating.
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