ED accuses Mallya of floating shell firms; joins CBI in extradition plea

Former liquor baron Vijay Mallya had allegedly floated 20 shell companies, directors of which were either his personal staff or those who retired, the Enforcement Directorate has said in a recent charge-sheet filed in the KFA-IDBI Bank money laundering case.

The ED is going to file a request to extradite Mallya from the United Kingdom in addition to the Central Bureau of Investigation. The ED will move the request sometime this month as it filed its first charge sheet against Mallya and eight others in connection with its money laundering probe in the Rs900-cr IDBI Bank-KFA bank loan case.

The ED will be the second central agency to apply for his extradition as the CBI has already made a similar request to UK authorities and filed a chargesheet in the case. ED will try to push for Mallya's extradition through diplomatic channels.

Mallya has been living in London since he left India on 2 March 2016.

"Now that the chargesheet has been filed against Mallya, we will soon file an affidavit in court and then apply for his extradition through diplomatic channels," said a senior ED officer to Mail Today.

The ED, meanwhile, is set to confiscate a coffee estate in Coorg in Karnataka and other assets of Mallya in Bengaluru which it had attached under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), as it did with a Rs100 crore farm house in Maharashtra's Alibaug recently.

The Enforcement Directorate had registered a criminal case in this deal last year and has attached assets worth over Rs9,600 crore till now.

"Mallya was holding directly or indirectly movable and immovable assets, in the form of shares of public listed companies, by way of creating a web of shell companies. The assets were being in shell/dummy companies created by Mallya," the ED said in its charge sheet filed in Mumbai on Thursday.

The over 5,000 page charge sheet or prosecution compliant, with 57 pages of the main report and rest annexures, has been filed before a special PMLA court in Mumbai.

The chargesheet said Mallya had "formed a complex web structure of his group companies so as to indirectly control their affairs".

"He has nominated directors in those companies who were either his personal staff, retired company official or a third person," it said.

The agency identified the alleged shell firms as PE Data Centre Resources Private Limited, Pharma Trading Limited, Kingfisher Finvest Limited, Devi Investment Private Limited, Mallya Investment Private Limited, Explicit Consultancy Private Limited, Ambitious Computech Private Limited and Vilora Consultancy, among others.

Describing how the alleged siphoning of the funds happened in this case, the agency said, "It is suspected that major portion out of amount of Rs417.29 crore was remitted out of India to overseas parties from IDBI bank."

It mentioned a transaction made to a firm which allegedly had fake or dummy directors.

"An amount of Rs63.10 crore (approximately) was paid to Ms UBICS Technologies Pvt Ltd (controlled by Mallya). Directors are dummy directors acting on behalf of Mallya.

''This company was used as a special purpose vehicle to route the funds of Ms KFA as no other transaction from any other company has been noticed in this," it said.

A total of 9 accused, including Mallya, Kingfisher Airlines (KFA), United Breweries (Holding) Limited and senior employees and executives of the now-defunct airline and the IDBI Bank, have been named in the chargesheet by the ED.

The agency, in the chargesheet, has called Mallya the "prime mover of the entire plot" and has described how funds obtained from the bank loan were allegedly routed illegally including "substantial payments" being diverted by the businessman to the Formula 1 car racing event abroad and others.

The total loan sanctioned and disbursed by the IDBI bank to KFA was Rs860.92 crore.