Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) Court in Mumbai declared Vijay Mallya a ‘fugitive economic offender’. He became the first person to be declared a ‘fugitive economic offender’ under the Fugitive Economic Offenders’ Act, 2018. After hearing the arguments of a lawyer of Mallya and the Enforcement Directorate counsel MS Azmi, the special court declared Mallya an offender under Section 12 of the Fugitive Economic Offenders’ Act, 2018 Act. This step is in pursuance to the application filed by Enforcement Directorate to declare Mallya a fugitive under the Act. Mallya was facing charges of financial irregularities. The Enforcement Directorate said that the step is only to aid the agency to bring somebody back to the country to face the law here.
Under the provisions of the Fugitive Economic Offenders’ Act, 2018, a person is declared as Fugitive Economic Offender when an arrest warrant has been issued in respect of a scheduled offense and who has left India so as to avoid criminal prosecution, or being abroad, refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution. Once the person is declared a fugitive economic offender, the prosecuting agency has the powers to confiscate his properties. In the present matter, the court will hear the arguments on the confiscation of Mallya’s properties on February 5.
In his defense, lawyers of Mallya told the court that he had not fled the country to avoid the prosecution as the warrant was issued against him subsequently. He had left to attend a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland at the World Motor Sports Council. He had attended the meeting as part of the ‘ordinary course’ of his business activities.
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