Mumbai: The Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), the investigative agency for white collar crimes, has sought loan details from lenders to the Vijay Mallya-owned defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
“Banks have been asked to provide all the details of the loans given to the Kingfisher Airlines. The agency wants to know whether all the procedures were followed by the lenders while giving loans to the airlines,” a banking source said, adding the details have been furnished.
As a multi-disciplinary organisation, the SFIO probes cases of financial frauds that are referred to it by the Corporate Affairs Ministry. According to a banker, by asking these details, the SFIO is probably trying to ascertain whether or not there were any lapses on part of the lenders in the entire Kingfisher Airlines loan saga.
Last month, Corporate Affairs Minister Arun Jaitley, in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, had said the SFIO was investigating the long-grounded Kingfisher Airlines for alleged financial irregularities. “The SFIO is currently investigating Kingfisher Airlines. Since the probe is in progress, no comments are offered at this stage,” Mr Jaitley had informed Parliament in a written reply.
Beleaguered liquor baron Vijay Mallya and Kingfisher Airlines owe over Rs. 9,000 crore, including interest, to a consortium of 17 lenders led by State Bank. Other lenders include Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank, Bank of India, Federal Bank, Uco Bank, United Bank of India and Dena Bank, among others.
On June 14, a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Mumbai had declared Mr Mallya a proclaimed offender in a loan default case. The court issued the order on a plea by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which has been asking Mr Mallya to join investigations “in person” in its PMLA probe against him and others in the Rs. 900 crore alleged loan fraud involving IDBI Bank.
On June 11, the ED had attached properties worth Rs. 1,411 crore of Mr Mallya and UB Ltd in connection with its money laundering probe in the IDBI Bank loan default case.
The assets brought under the “provisional attachment” order include bank balance of Rs. 34 crore, a flat each in Bengaluru and Mumbai (2,291 sqft and 1,300 sqft respectively), an industrial plot in Chennai (4.5 acres), a coffee plantation in Coorg (28.75 acres) and residential and commercial areas in UB City and the Kingfisher Tower in Bengaluru (84,0279 sq ft).
Vijay Mallya had left the country to Brtiain on March 2 using his diplomatic passport and London has turned down New Delhi’s request to deport him.