Liquor baron and former Kingfisher Airlines boss Vijay Mallya has found himself a new moniker. The 63-year-old businessman-on-the-run is currently in London and is now the first person ever to be declared a ‘fugitive economic offender’ under the Fugitive Economic Offenders’ Act, 2018 by a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) Court in Mumbai.
Reportedly, Special judge MS Azmi, on Saturday, declared Mallya an offender under Section 12 of the Act after hearing long arguments from Mallya's lawyer and the Enforcement Directorate counsel. The anti-corruption court was hearing an application by the ED, seeking a direction to declare Mallya a fugitive economic offender.
Over the last few years and especially in 2018, many high profile cases have come to light where after committing financial frauds in thousands of crores, businessmen flee the country. The new law to catch these economic offenders, the President of India had signed this law in August last year. The likes of Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi are under the government’s radar as their case is also on priority.
Talking about the Act, a Fugitive Economic Offender is an individual against whom an arrest warrant has been issued in respect of a listed crime and who has left India so as to avoid a criminal trial, or being abroad, refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution. Once the person is declared a fugitive economic offender, the prosecuting agency has the powers to confiscate his properties. The economic offence should be at least Rs.100 crore or more to be charged with this act.
Earlier in December 2018, a court in the UK had stated that Mallya can be extradited to India to face fraud investigations. He is wanted back home for defaulting on a Rs. 9,000 crore in loans to his failed Kingfisher Airlines.