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ED preparing for LRs in Mallya-KFA probe

As the money laundering probe against embattled liquor baron Vijay Mallya gathers pace, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is preparing to issue Letters Rogatories (LRs) to a certain countries, including South Africa and the UK, for obtaining information on his overseas assets.

Vijay Mallya-AV
Official sources said the agency has obtained details about immovable and movable assets held by the United Breweries (UB) Chairman in a number of countries and investigators are looking at countries like South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Hong Kong and France, as part of its probe conducted till now in the case.

The agency is mulling moving a competent court in this regard and obtain the LRs (judicial requests) which will be sent to their counterparts in these countries for obtaining information with regard to purchase, registration and status of movable and immovable assets.

The agency, meanwhile, has also written to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to understand the nuances of a 2010 policy decision to widen the corporate debt restructuring scheme to include the aviation industry.

The policy was used by a few airlines, including Kingfisher Airlines (KFA), to restructure its debts.

The sources said as there are not many assets of Mallya available for attachment under anti-money laundering laws in the country following banks putting their claims on them, his and KFA’s foreign assets can be seized.

The agency, while probing the “proceeds of crime” generated in the case of an alleged loan fraud of Rs. 900 crore on IDBI bank, will also need to have a comprehensive data on what properties were raised by the businessman, his companies and associates abroad.

ED is also probing allegations that about Rs. 300 crore were diverted to foreign shores out of this loans and hence LRs will help obtain details about their end-user in the foreign countries, the sources said.

However, a senior official said getting an LR issued from a court is a first step.

It takes time to follow it up with the foreign agencies but as the case is being probed under the criminal provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, required cooperation is expected.

The agency, which has already questioned a few KFA and IDBI executives in the case, had yesterday issued fresh summons to Mallya to appear before its investigators in Mumbai on April 9.

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