CBI court requests US authorities for probe on Mallya’s accounts

Mumbai: A CBI special court on Monday issued a Letter of Request to Attorney General, Washington DC, USA seeking information on bank accounts of fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya and his airline Kingfisher Airlines Limited (KAL).

In its application before the court, the CBI stated that it needs to find through account statements, the utilisation of funds received in an account with First Commerce Bank, now Pacific Premier Bank, between December 2007 and March 2009.

It also said that there was a remittance of $20 million by Airbus SAS, France in June 2008 and sought information of the beneficiary account along with its account statement, from the date of opening till date.

Another $5.38 million was remitted from a State Bank of Mauritius account to beneficiary accounts. The agency sought similar information about this account too, saying that these may have been meant for Mallya, Kingfisher or their associates.

It also sought permission to use evidence already shared by US authorities in the investigation and trial of the SBI Consortium Loans case and to tender legal assistance for foreign investigation and trial of the former and another - the IDBI loan case.

The agency’s investigation has found that after availing loans from IDBI Bank, SBI and other banks Mallya and KAL diverted the funds for purposes other than those they were sanctioned for.

It had submitted to the special court that an amount of Rs. 263.08 crore out of IDBI bail loan availed in 2009 had been diverted for purposes such as payment of TDS overdue, payment of lease rentals of the corporate jet being used by Mallya, settling liabilities of other banks and payment of salaries among other purposes.

“Large amounts were remitted to overseas entities from various banks in the guise of lease rentals, payment of engineering, maintenance and import of spares,” the agency had said and stated that there were reasons to believe the transactions were not genuine.

In the SBI Consortium case, the CBI told the court that there are significant diversions to parties and entities like Force India Formula 1 Team Ltd. Citing an instance, it said that lease rental of $1.99 lakh was paid for two ATR aircraft, whereas for aircraft leased from other lessors during the same period, far less amount of Rs. $70 thousand to $1 lakh was paid.

The CBI also mentioned a diversion of Rs. 15.90 crores to Bangalore-based IPL team Royal Challengers Sports Pvt. Ltd. from the proceeds of an SBI loan in 2009.

The agency said, “There is also large scale transfer of funds from the bank loans availed by Kingfisher to its own USA/overseas accounts and there are reasons to believe that the loans availed from Indian banks were diverted out of India and have subsequently been invested by fugitive Mallya in several overseas companies based in the USA, UK, Switzerland and other countries and the funds…are proceeds of crime.”

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