The Enforcement Directorate has managed to recover for public sector banks assets worth ₹9,041.5 crore, representing about 40 per cent of the total loss to the PSBs caused by three scamsters — Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.
An ED statement said that, as on date, it has attached/seized, under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), assets worth ₹18,170.02 crore, amounting to about 80 per cent of the total loss of ₹22,585.83 crore suffered by the banks.
On Wednesday, the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) sold a part of the ₹6,000-crore worth United Breweries (of fugitive economic offender Vijay Mallya) shares transferred by the ED to the State Bank-led consortium, recovering over ₹5,800 crore. “The DRT on behalf of SBI consortium sold shares of United Breweries Limited for ₹5824.50 crore. Further realisation of ₹800 crore by sale of shares is expected by June 25,” the ED statement said.
CBI, ED probes
In a tweet, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said: “Fugitives & economic offenders will be actively pursued; their properties attached & dues recovered.”
It may be recalled that the fraud by the three economic offenders was first probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) before the ED took over and unearthed a myriad web of domestic and international transactions and stashing of assets abroad.
Investigation also proved that the three used dummy entities for rotation and siphoning of funds provided by the banks.
Of the ₹18,170.02-crore assets attached, the ED said that assets worth ₹969 crore were located in foreign countries.
It found that substantial part of these assets were held in the names of dummy entities, trusts, third persons or relatives.
India closes in on Mallya
Based on complaints from the PSBs, the CBI had initiated criminal investigations against Mallya in July 2015. The ED started a probe under the PMLA in January 2016. Mallya fled to the UK in March that year.
After a long legal battle, his extradition has been ordered by the Westminster Magistrate’s Court and confirmed by the UK High Court. Since Vijay Mallya has been denied permission to appeal in the UK Supreme Court, his extradition to India appears a certainty.
Based on complaints from Punjab National Bank, the CBI filed a case against diamond dealers Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi in early 2018. However, before the scam broke, both of them fled from the country. In 2018, a Red Corner Notice was issued by Interpol against them. In the meantime, the ED initiated investigation on the basis of PNB’s complaints. A prosecution complaint was filed in the PMLA court.
Nirav Modi was traced to London and arrested in 2019. He has been in a London jail for over two years now, on the basis of an extradition request by India. The Westminster Magistrate’s Court has ordered his extradition to India. Choksi, who got citizenship of Antigua, has been detained in neighbouring Dominica and the legal process to get him back to India is on.