Loan Default Case: Mumbai Court Issues NBW against Vijay Mallya

Vijay Mallya

A Mumbai special court has issued a non-bailable warrant (NBW) against fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya in connection with a Rs 180-crore loan default case involving Indian Overseas Bank (IOB).

The court, considering the CBI’s submission and the status of the 68-year-old businessman as a “fugitive,” noted that “this is a fit case to issue an open-ended non-bailable warrant (NBW) against him to secure his presence.” The CBI, which is investigating the case, has alleged that the promoter of the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines caused a wrongful loss of over Rs 180 crore to a government-run bank by “wilfully” defaulting on payments.

The embattled liquor tycoon, already declared a fugitive economic offender in a money laundering case investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), currently resides in London, and the Indian government is seeking his extradition.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had directed the complainant bank, State Bank of India (SBI), in August 2010 to consider Kingfisher Airlines Ltd’s (KAL) proposal for restructuring existing facilities as a one-time measure for the aviation sector. Consequently, lenders, including Indian Overseas Bank (IOB), restructured the credit facilities to KAL through a Master Debt Recast Agreement (MDRA), signed between KAL and a consortium of 18 banks.

The CBI has alleged that the case involves false promises and the diversion of loans for purposes other than those for which they were availed. The accused, with dishonest intent to cheat, “wilfully” defaulted on repayment obligations under the loans, causing a wrongful loss of Rs 141.91 crore. Additionally, an extra wrongful loss of Rs 38.30 crore was alleged due to the conversion of loans into shares.

Upon taking cognizance of the charge-sheet, the CBI court issued a summons to Mallya and five other accused. However, the probe agency pressed for an NBW against Mallya, stating that “the accused is a fugitive and an absconder.” The CBI’s plea highlighted that Mallya is residing in England and “continues to subvert the process of law in India.” The court observed that Mallya has absconded, has been declared a fugitive, and that NBWs are pending execution against him in other cases. It concluded that issuing a summons would serve no purpose and deemed it appropriate to issue an open-ended NBW to secure Mallya’s presence.

The former Rajya Sabha MP was declared a Fugitive Economic Offender in January 2019 by a special court under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Mallya, accused of defaulting on multiple loan repayments and money laundering, left India in March 2016.

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About the Author: Nunnem Gangte