Vijay Mallya may become the foremost tycoon to be charged under a new anti-fraud law if a court in Mumbai today names him as an offender under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018.
The anti-corruption court is hearing an allegation by the Enforcement Directorate, seeking a direction to declare Mr. Mallya a fugitive economic offender.
Over the last few months, various high-profile businessmen comprising Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi have been under the government’s radar for alleged financial crimes running into thousands of crores.
The new law to catch people who flee abroad after committing financial crimes was signed by the President in August last year. It was focused on stopping a growing number of high-profile economic offenders feeling the country to avoid legal action.
As per the new law, a fugitive economic offender is a person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued for his or her involvement in economic offenses involving at least Rs. 100 crore or more and has left India to avoid prosecution.
A court in the UK last month said Mr. Mallya can be extradited to India to face fraud investigations. Vijay is wanted in India for defaulting on Rs. 9,000 crore in loans to his failed Kingfisher Airlines.
The court had confirmed it was satisfied with the assurances provided by the Indian government, including a video of the jail cell, which had not only been recently redecorated but was also far larger than the minimum required threshold.
The businessman remains on bail on an extradition warrant executed by Scotland Yard in April 2016 after Indian authorities brought fraud and money laundering charges against Vijay Mallya.