A special court in Mumbai on Saturday issued summons to absconding liquor baron Vijay Mallya to appear before it on August 27.
The order came following a hearing on a fresh plea filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The ED has sought action against him under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance in the over Rs 9,000-crore bank fraud case.
Prevention of Money Laundering Act Court Special Judge M.S. Azmi ordered an issue of the notice to Mallya after taking cognisance of the recent second ED chargesheet and its application on June 22 seeking to invoke the charges against him under the FEO Ordinance.
This is the first time that action has been initiated invoking the new Ordinance promulgated by the government to tackle fugitive bank loan defaulters.
If Mallya — currently holed up in the United Kingdom — fails to honor the special court’s summons, he could be proclaimed a “Fugitive Economic Offender”, and all his properties can be confiscated.
The special court has earlier issued non-bailable arrest warrants in Mallya’s name in the two main cases lodged by the ED, but he has denied all charges against him.
Last week, the fugitive tycoon petitioned the Karnataka High Court to permit him and his holding firm UBHL to sell their assets under its supervision to repay creditors, including state-run banks while saying a civil law matter of loan recovery had been made a criminal matter in his case.
“UBHL (United Breweries Holding Ltd) and I have filed an application before the Karnataka High Court on June 22, setting out available assets of about Rs 13,900 crore,” Mallya said in a statement.
The 62-year-old liquor baron, who fled India on March 2, 2016, has been living in London since then despite summons from Indian courts and law enforcement agencies to appear before them for trial in various related cases.
Asserting that recovery of loans was a civil matter, Mallya said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and ED had, however, criminalized it in his case by moving against him despite his intentions to settle the dues with the banks.
“The CBI and ED seem determined to frame criminal charges against me on the pretext of non-payment to the banks. The motivation, however, seems to be to secure my presence in India to face charges than to determine if the evidence collected by them demonstrates criminal charges against me or to permit me to sell assets and repay creditors,” he said.