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Investigative agencies unearth Vijay Mallya-Deepak Talwar close links, find messages exchanged between duo, associates

FP Staff
The usual aggressive, devil-may-care Mallya would normally have been expected to be that instigator. But on this day, better sense prevailed on beer baron.

Even as liquor baron Vijay Mallya's efforts to prevent his extradition to India is underway, the investigative agencies got a shot in the arm with the exposure of his close links with corporate lobbyist Deepak Talwar, who has a chargesheet against him in a money laundering case. The investigative agencies have reportedly detected the messages exchanged between the duo and their associates, said a media report.

The messages, which are in the forms of SMS and emails, include efforts to prevent the Bihar government from going ahead with prohibition in the state and concerns over a possible inclusion of Airbus in the Kingfisher Airlines loan scandal probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), reported The Economic Times quoting people in the know of the matter.

The alleged correspondence on the liquor ban in Bihar involved executives of United Spirits, then owned by Mallya, and Talwar's company Deepak Talwar Associates (DTA). The officials of CBI and Income-Tax Department put them on the record in court to establish that Talwar lobbied for Mallya, the report said.

In February this year, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had claimed before a Delhi court that lobbyist Talwar had links with Mallya in a money laundering case, reported PTI.

ED claimed before the court that investigation revealed Talwar's links with Mallya, when both were evading the process of law, and the probe is on to determine the trail of the tainted money.

The trial court had recently taken cognisance on the chargesheet filed by the ED on the case and issued production warrant of Talwar, who is lodged in jail.

According to the chargesheet, the investigation revealed that Deepak obtained undue favours for the private airlines using his contacts.

Talwar has been charged with criminal conspiracy, forgery and under various other sections of the FCRA for allegedly diverting Rs 90.72 crore worth of foreign funds meant for ambulances and other articles received by his NGO from Europe's leading missile manufacturing company. His role in some aviation deals during the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance's (UPA) regime at the Centre is under scanner as well.

Talwar was deported from Dubai on 30 January and arrested by the agency after landing here. The ED had earlier told the court that by interrogating Talwar it has to find out the names of officials of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, National Aviation Company of India Ltd and Air India, who favoured foreign airlines, including Qatar Airways, Emirates and Air Arabia, by making national carrier, give up profit making routes and profit making timings.

In December last year, a UK court ordered the extradition of Mallya to India, where he is wanted for alleged fraud and money laundering charges amounting to an estimated Rs 9,000 crores.

In April this year, Mallya had submitted a "renewal application" in the UK High Court, making another attempt at appealing against his extradition to India.

Last month, Mallya had failed to convince a UK High Court to dismiss an order related to money in one of his London bank accounts, dealing a blow to the embattled liquor tycoon's efforts to prevent a consortium of Indian banks getting access to nearly 260,000 pounds.

€" With PTI inputs

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