The Supreme Court on Friday sought a response from Enforcement Directorate (ED) on a plea filed by liquor baron Vijay Mallya challenging the ongoing proceedings in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Mumbai to declare him a 'fugitive economic offender'. The top court, however, refused to stay the proceedings.
Mallya had approached the apex court after the Bombay High Court had last month refused to stay proceedings against him in the PMLA court.
"Notice. No stay," a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul ordered after hearing senior advocate Fali S Nariman, appearing for Mallya, for few seconds.
Under the provisions of the Act, once a person is declared a fugitive economic offender, the prosecuting agency has the powers to confiscate his property.
Mallya, however, had opposed the plea in high court saying that he should not be declared a fugitive as he was not involved in money laundering.
In his petition before the apex court on Friday, Mallya said that he was not a fugitive as there were wilful defaulters much bigger than him.
The billionaire businessman’s petition before the court comes a day after he had said that he wanted to “stop the narrative” that he had stolen money and that was ready to pay back 100 per cent of the principal amount due to the banks. He had also complained that he was not getting a fair treatment and that people were not talking about the comprehensive settlement offer he had placed before the Karnataka High Court.
Mallya said he had placed assets worth Rs 140 billion in front of the court and that the banks and ED were fighting amongst themselves to gain control over the assets.
“With respect, I have placed 14K crores worth of assets in front of Court as the ED and Banks (both under Government control) are fighting over the same assets. What do I do without Court intervention?” Mallya said on Twitter.
Billionaire businessman Mallya, who had left India in 2016, faces charges of defrauding Indian banks to the tune of up to Rs 90 billion. He also faces extradition to India from United Kingdom to stand trial for the charges of the said financial irregularities.