New Delhi, Mar 17, 2016: As Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said today that banks will chase Vijay Mallya for "every penny" of the nearly 1 billion dollars owed by his Kingfisher Airlines, sources in the CBI have disclosed to NDTV that its investigation into the liquor baron’s loans has expanded to include 6 lakh transactions
60% of these financial moves involved Mr Mallya moving money abroad from loans given to his airline, which lost its license in 2013 amid a mountain of debts and unpaid salaries to employees.
The CBI is investigating how and why Mr Mallya managed to corral such large loans, mainly from state-run banks, despite Kingfisher’s Airlines obvious financial mess. Earlier this month, Mr Mallya, who built much of his fortune with Kingfisher beer, flew from Delhi to London, a departure revealed by the centre only after banks asked courts to stop him from traveling abroad.
The Enforcement Directorate, which fights financial crimes, has accused Mr Mallya of siphoning abroad a hefty chunk of a 900-core loan from state-run IDBI. The CBI is now looking at whether that was not an isolated case. Its investigators are paying special focus to whether, instead of paying back creditors, Mr Mallya secretly funneled away the profit earned from selling a number of Airbus aircraft, which he bought starting in 2005, and sold after his airline began to underperform.
CBI sources claim that during three rounds of questioning last year, Mr Mallya deflected accusations of financial violations, describing himself as "a bonafide businessman" who needed to pay foreign vendors and airports for services provided including the parking of planes and their maintenance in the countries they flew to.
CBI sources are also challenging the motives of the banks that made large loans available to Mr Mallya. Sources say that IDBI, for example, refused to register a complaint against him despite nudges from the CBI in 2012 and then again in 2014.
The CBI itself has been accused of negligence in Mr Mallya’s case by revoking an i alert that asked airports to detain him if he tried to fly abroad. "If he does not cooperate," sources told NDTV, "we will move for a red corner notice" which is effectively an international arrest warrant.