London: Businessman Vijay Mallya, who is wanted in India for Rs. 9,000 crore loan default, was on Wednesday seen at an event in UK promoting a new Formula One car launched by his team Sahara Force India.
Mr Mallya was seen with his two drivers Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon in a photograph uploaded by official Formula One website (www.formula1.com). The new car of his F1 team was launched today at Silverstone.
The businessman has been on the radar of the Indian agencies for a long time now and the government has been in talks with the UK government for his extradition over charges of multi-crore loan default by a consortium of Indian banks.
On Monday, the Home Ministry forwarded to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) a court-issued request to bring back embattled liquor baron from the United Kingdom to India.
In a communication to the MEA, the Home Ministry has provided it details of the Mumbai special court order which approved the Enforcement Directorate’s request to invoke the India-UK Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) to bring back Mr Mallya to the country.
The Mumbai special court, which is entrusted with hearing cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act or PMLA, had last fortnight approved the ED’s request to issue an order against Mr Mallya under the India-UK treaty.
The 1992 India-UK MLAT has a clause through which the treaty can be invoked in a criminal probe seeking the “transfer of persons, including persons in custody, for the purpose of assisting in investigations or giving evidence” and it is understood that the ED considers this step a better legal tool than the regular extradition action to get a person under investigation by Indian probe agencies back to the country.
The ED has been wanting Mr Mallya to join the probe in this case “in person” and had issued multiple summons to him but could not get success as Mr Mallya never deposed before it.
The ED has virtually exhausted all legal options to bring Mr Mallya back to India including the issuance of NBW, based on which it had made the requests for revocation of his passport and subsequent deportation bid, apart from seeking an Interpol warrant against him which has remained unsuccessful till now.