Mumbai, April 18 (IANS) Adding to the woes of liquor baron Vijay Mallya, a special court here on Monday issued an undated non-bailable arrest warrant against the beleaguered businessman, official sources said here.
The non-bailable warrant (NBW) was issued by Special Judge P.R. Bhavake in response to a plea by the Enforcement Directorate on April 15 before the special court hearing cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Following the warrant, the decks have been cleared for a red corner notice to be issued by Interpol against Mallya and he can also be arrested anytime and anywhere in the country.
The special court also rejected the submissions made by Mallya’s counsel Amit Desai and Pranav Badhekar that officials of the grounded Kingfisher Airlines were fully cooperating with the ED and they should not be accused of being evasive or un-cooperative.
Denying the ED’s contention that Mallya had diverted monies to make property investments abroad, counsel urged the special court not to pass any “coercive orders” sought by the ED against Mallya in the matter.
The ED’s lawyer Hiten Venegaonkar had filed the plea for an NBW and also put forth his arguments for issuing the NBW against Mallya.
On Monday, Venegaonkar reiterated that Mallya must present himself before the ED, which has summoned him thrice earlier in connection with the money-laundering cases filed against him.
The ED has also raised apprehensions about the possibility of the evidence being tampered with.
After he failed to appear in person on March 18, April 2 and April 9, Mallya sought time extension till May from the ED, as he is abroad since March 2 and reported to be in Britain.
The ED’s April 15 plea before the special court came soon after the central government suspended Mallya’s diplomatic passport on that day.