After keeping the Indian agencies on tenterhooks for months, fugitive billionaire Vijay Mallya is sending repeated feelers that he is ready to come back home.
He seems to have run out of his options as agencies including the Enforcement Directorate (ED) tighten noose around him in the Rs 9,000 crore bank loan fraud case. In the latest development, Vijay Mallya approached the ED informing the agency of his “willingness to return”.
This sudden change of heart in Vijay Mallya follows the ED’s move to confiscate his assets in India and abroad under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance. Incidentally, the Lok Sabha passed the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill last week leaving little doubt that the government is serious about taking action against fugitive economic offenders including Vijay Mallya.
Earlier in June this year, the ED had moved a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court against Vijay Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines. The airline company is now defunct and the ED approached the PMLA court in Mumbai to declare Mallya a “fugitive economic offender” and order confiscation of his properties.
The ED sought to seize Vijay Mallya’s properties approximately worth Rs 12,500 crore including movable assets in the form of shares. Vijay Mallya is the first economic offender facing action under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance.
The Mumbai PMLA court issued summons to Vijay Mallya directing him to appear before it on August 27. On the other hand, the UK Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court has not yet decided on the extradition plea against Mallya. But, the Indian agencies are hopeful of a favourable order later this month when the London court hears the matter. Indian officials are likely to be present in the court.
So, Vijay Mallya faces a prospect when his assets worth Rs 12,500 crore could be confiscated. Over and above, he may be extradited to India from the UK. His London base seems to be cracking and his asset loss could be far greater than the amount of bank loan fraud.
Against this background, Vijay Mallya is understood to have undergone a change of heart. He approached the ED officials expressing his wish and will to help Indian agency in the legal processes against him in the country. Vijay Mallya may expect to arrive at an out-of-court settlement for loan payback.
News credit : Indiatoday