ED registers money laundering case against Vijay Mallya
The Enforcement Directorate has registered a money laundering case against businessman Vijay Mallya and chief financial officer of now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines on the basis of Central Bureau Investigation’s (CBI) probe into alleged wilful default of Rs.900 crore loan in conspiracy with IDBI Bank officials.In October 2015, the CBI had booked the case of corruption and criminal conspiracy against Mr. Mallya, as director of Kingfisher Airlines, and conducted searches in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Goa. Two months later, the agency summoned him for questioning.The CBI found that the IDBI Bank granted loan to Kingfisher Airlines despite an adverse internal audit report on its financial condition. The report had highlighted that the company was unable to repay loans earlier obtained from a consortium of 17 banks of which IDBI was a part. Mr. Mallya’s companies owed over Rs.7,000 crore to the consortium.The ED’s move comes in the backdrop of the Karnataka High Court recently issuing notice to Mr. Mallya and nine others on a petition by State Bank of India (SBI) and 12 other banks seeking his arrest and impounding of his passport on charges of defaulting on loans.Also, the Debt Recovery Tribunal is soon expected to issue its order on SBI’s plea seeking the lending banks’ first right over Rs.515 crore that Mr. Mallya is to get from Diageo under an agreement that he will not buy any shares of Diageo-controlled United Spirits Limited (USL) for the next five years. As part of the arrangement, he recently stepped down as USL chairman.