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Vijay Mallya’s men diverted cash for their own use: ED probe

Kingfisher has come under the scanner of multiple investigative agencies, including the CBI, Special Frauds Investigation Office (SFIO) and service tax department, after it defaulted on loans of over Rs 7,000 crore borrowed from 17 banks.

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THE ENFORCEMENT Directorate (ED) has found “evidence” that a few senior officials of Vijay Mallya-led UB Group may have allegedly diverted money lent to Kingfisher Airlines for their personal use, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

“The agency has found some evidence of diversion by senior officials and is working on it,” ED sources told The Indian Express. An email sent to the official spokesperson of Mallya did not elicit any response.

While probing an alleged money laundering case registered against Mallya, the ED has already grilled Ravi Nedungadi, former president and CFO at UB Group and A Raghunathan, former CFO of Kingfisher Airlines, over the alleged default of over Rs 900 crore loan from IDBI Bank. On Tuesday, both were questioned by the CBI on the utilisation of loans given to Kingfisher.

Apart from Mallya, who has been asked to appear before it on March 18, the ED had issued summons, under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), to over half a dozen officials of IDBI Bank and KFA. They have been asked to submit details of personal finances and I-T returns of the last five years.

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Kingfisher has come under the scanner of multiple investigative agencies, including the CBI, Special Frauds Investigation Office (SFIO) and service tax department, after it defaulted on loans of over Rs 7,000 crore borrowed from 17 banks. Kingfisher is said to owe over Rs 9,000 crore to the banks as on November 30, 2015.

The ED has written to the 17 banks and probe agencies for details on loans defaulted and transactions done by Mallya’s companies. It has also sent official requests seeking details of the probe conducted by the income-tax and service-tax departments and the SFIO against the airline in the past.

Mallya is currently fighting at least 22 cases in various courts related to loan default by Kingfisher Airlines. At least three banks — United Bank of India, State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank — have declared Kingfisher Airlines, United Breweries (Holdings) and Mallya as “wilful defaulters”.

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Last week, Mallya, tweeted that he is not an absconder. “As an Indian MP I fully respect and will comply with the law of the land. Our judicial system is sound and respected. But no trial by media,” Mallya said in a tweet on March 11.

First published on: 16-03-2016 at 02:45:10 am
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