The Bengaluru police have identified a whopping 159 properties belonging to economic fugitive and liquor baron Vijay Mallya. The police have asked Delhi's Patiala House Court more time to mark additional properties of Mallya, who is fighting an extradition case in the UK.
So does that mean the long arms of the law are catching up, though slowly, with the King of good times, who is happily ensconced in the UK while his defunct Kingfisher Airline created a nearly Rs 10,000 core hole in the bank books in India?
The latest move is a sign that the assets and properties of the liquor baron are the way to liquidation. However, that's a long road to traverse.
Just two weeks ago, the Enforcement Directorate started proceedings to declare Mallya an fugitive economic offender. If the ED is successful in getting Mallya declared as an economic offender on the run under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act of 2017, the banks can look to recoup at least a part of the money they lost in loans given to him.
The ED move was of specific interest as it has become clear that Mallya's extradition case will play out over an indefinitely long period, with the generous UK system giving him all the benefits of the doubt.
If the extradition doesn't happen at all, or if it takes painfully long, the only recourse lies in getting the defaulter slapped with the fugitive offender label. This will help the court-appointed administrator of assets to dispose of them and pass on the benefits to the creditors.
This way, the retribution will be certain, though slow. Mallya has clearly realised the import of the Indian move, which was initiated on June 22. Close on the heels of the start of the ED proceedings, Mallya made a series of tweets saying he was willing to settle his dues with the Indian banks.
If Mallya's assets are confiscated under the Fugitive Offenders Act, he won't any longer be able to file a civil suit contesting the attachment of assets. That's because the section 11 of the Act clearly states that those declared as offenders are not eligible to defend a civil claim in court.