Blow to Mallya as special PMLA court declares him proclaimed offender

Vijay MallyaLiquor baron Vijay Mallya who is staying away in the UK, making himself out of reach for law enforcement agencies in India, will now be accessible after a special court today declared him a proclaimed offender in connection with a ban loan fraud case.

The Enforcement Directorate had moved the special court in a money laundering probe against him in connection with an alleged bank loan fraud case, seeking issuance of an order against Mallya under Sec 82 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and term him a proclaimed offender as ''multiple'' arrest warrants are pending against him, including a non-bailable warrant (NBW) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

A person can be termed a proclaimed offender in a criminal case if the court has reasons to believe that the accused against whom a warrant of arrest has been issued, has absconded or is concealing himself so as to avoid an arrest.

The court can also publish a written proclamation requiring such an accused to appear at a specified place and at a specified time in not less than 30 days from the date of publishing of such a proclamation.

The ED has all along been wanting Mallya to personally present before it for questioning in its PMLA probe against him and others in the alleged Rs900 crore loan fraud on IDBI bank, and, as such, has no other legal recourse than getting Mallya declared as proclaimed offender for seeking an Interpol arrest warrant and getting his passport revoked.

The agency also has the option to seek action under Section 83 of the CrPC (attachment of property of person absconding) if Mallya does not comply with proceedings initiated under Section 82.

It is also seeking to invoke the India-United Kingdom Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) to extradite Mallya from Britain.

Beleaguered businessman Vijay Mallya left India on 2 March using his diplomatic passport to avoid arrest.