Flamboyant Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya is the subject of an arrest warrant issued by a Mumbai court. The 60-year-old, whose Kingfisher Airlines collapsed in 2012, is thought to be living near London.
India's Enforcement Directorate for financial crimes said on Monday that the Mumbai court had granted its request for a warrant to seek Mallya. The agency wishes to question him on an allegation that a 120,000-euro ($135,000) loan from the IDBI bank for the airline was used to buy property overseas.
Mallya's UB Group, Kingfisher Airline's owner, said the warrant was "unjustified," adding that it would provide full details in the next few days to account for foreign exchange remittances.
Last week, India suspended Mallya's diplomatic passport at the request of the directorate. The tycoon left India on March 2 for an undisclosed destination.
Mallya is a member of the upper house of India's parliament and also co-owns the Britain-basedFormula One motor racing
team Sahara Force India.
Creditor banks rejected offer
Mallya is also being sought by a group of banks regarding 1.15 billion euros ($1.3 billion) in outstanding loans made to his airline, whose collapse also left thousands of workers unemployed.
Earlier this month, creditor banks rejected a partial payment of 531 million euros by Mallya and told India's Supreme Court that they wanted him to return to India to negotiate.
Indian media said the industrialist was thought to be staying at his mansion in Tewin, a Hertfordshire village north of London.
India and Britain have an extradition treaty signed in 1993.Mallya denied absconding
after news of him leaving India last month, accusing media of mounting a "witch hunt" against him.
Mallya's debt issues have become symbolic for Indian banks' volume of bad loans, which are seen as a threat to financial stability in Asia's third largest economy.
ipj/msh (AFP, Reuters, dpa)