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Vijay Mallya cooperating, left India in 'normal course': Lawyer tells court

Advocate Desai, while opposing the ED plea, said that Mallya had cooperated with the Debts Recovery Tribunal in its proceedings in relation to the loans given to his firms

Vijay Mallya  |  Karnataka  |  Mallya

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

Vijay Mallya
Vijay Mallya

Industrialist left the country in "normal course" and not under suspicious circumstances as claimed by investigating agencies, his lawyer told a court here Thursday.

A special court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) cases is hearing the Enforcement Directorate's (ED) plea to declare a fugitive under the Fugitive Economic Offenders (FEO) Act.

Arguing before judge M S Azmi, Mallya's lawyer Amit Desai said his client is a non-resident Indian (NRI) with a permanent address in and he had substantial business overseas as well as in .

is accused by the ED of defaulting on to the tune of

Rs 90 billion. He is also accused of diverting some of the loan amount.

Advocate Desai, while opposing the ED plea, said that Mallya had cooperated with the Debts Recovery Tribunal in its proceedings in relation to the loans given to his firms.

He left the country for on March 2, 2016 via Germany, where he attended a conference of World Motorsports as a director, Desai said. Mallya was then one of the owners Force India, a Formula One team, he added.

The investigating agencies had claimed that he left the county under suspicious circumstances.

Desai, however, argued that "Mallya left the country in normal course and before any case was registered against him."

Further, FEO Act is a draconian law as it permits confiscation of a person's property even before the trial starts, he said.

"As per the criminal procedure, property is confiscated only after the accused is held guilty. Under this law, the question of confiscation of property comes even before the first witness is examined," he said.

ED counsel D P Singh rebutted Mallya's defence that he cannot return to because of the conditions of the bail granted by a court in the United Kingdom which restrain him from leaving the country.

Mallya can give an undertaking before the UK court that he wants to return to India, Singh said.

The arguments will continue on Friday.

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First Published: Thu, November 29 2018. 21:25 IST