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Mallya has three more weeks to explain why he is not a ‘fugitive’

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Mumbai: A special court on Monday granted three weeks’ time to former liquor baron Vijay Mallya to file his reply against the application seeking to declare him “fugitive”. This comes after Mallya sought time to file a “descriptive” reply in response to the application moved by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) seeking to declare him fugitive under the newly introduced Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018.

According to this act, any person named in an economic offence, who refuses to return India after flying overseas, will be declared fugitive. After the act was cleared by both the Houses of Parliament, the ED soon filed this application before the special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court. The court granted few opportunities to Mallya to defend himself, however, he sought an adjournment and failed to appear before the court. So now, the special court has, by way of a last chance, granted Mallya three weeks to file his say in the matter.

In its plea, the ED has contended that since Mallya has failed to appear before the court on several occasions and has also not bothered to comply with the summons, he should be declared fugitive. According to advocate Hiten Venegaonkar, “There are already two complaints pending against Mallya. He has also not responded to the summons issued by the authorities in India. Further, there is a non-bailable warrant pending against him.” “Despite several opportunities, Mallya has failed to appear before the court. All this clearly shows he does not intend to attend the investigations,” Venegaonkar added.