Five more firms come under ED probe for their links with Vijay Mallya; liquor baron used profits for expenses

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has reportedly initiated a probe into five firms registered in India and abroad for their alleged connections with fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya, said a media report.

The ED had unearthed an alleged nexus of slush funds being transferred to Mallya by his India-based "close associate" with the help of shell companies.

The ED suspects that Mallya had allegedly controlled these ‘dummy companies’ which were used for his liquor business, and the profits from them were used to fund his legal expenses, said a report in The Economic Times citing people in the know of the matter.

 Five more firms come under ED probe for their links with Vijay Mallya; liquor baron used profits for expenses

File image of Vijay Mallya. PTI

Based on a complaint by a whistleblower, the ED conducted an investigation during which five companies were unearthed—three were registered in South India and two abroad — and these companies will also be searched later, said the report quoting people aware of the matter.

After the ED had unearthed an alleged nexus of slush funds being transferred to Mallya by his India-based "close associate" with the help of shell companies, official sources said that the probe into the multi-crore bank fraud case widened, reported PTI.

The federal agency last week conducted its first-ever raid operation, under the newly enacted Fugitive Economic Offender (FEO) law, against Bengaluru-based V Shashikant and his family after it has obtained some inputs on these purported dubious financial transactions.

Shashikant has also been the managing director of United Breweries Holding Ltd (UBHL) and the Enforcement Directorate has now seized "incriminating" documents, emails and WhatsApp chats during raids that suggest he has been in touch with Mallya all this while.

It has been found that Shashikant incorporated a firm named United Branding Worldwide (UBW), registered at Lavelle road in Bengaluru, in which his wife Jayanti and daughter Archita are partners. UBW had taken over the business of UBHL for exporting the Kingfisher brand of beer and shoes and the export turnover of the company is Rs 220 crore per year, they said.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court agreed to hear on Friday the plea of Mallya challenging the confiscation of properties belonging to the companies owned by him and his family members.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi took note of the submission of F S Nariman, appearing for Mallya, that the fresh plea be heard along with the pending one on the legality of the law and the action to confiscate the properties.

Mallya, who is currently in the UK, has been charged by the ED of defaulting on bank loans to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore. He is also facing an extradition trial in the UK.

With PTI inputs

Updated Date: Jul 30, 2019 17:52:46 IST