All three are declared as fugitive economic offenders (FEO) in India under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, which came into effect in August 2018.
The Supreme Court is currently examining a batch of petitions concerning the interpretation of certain provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench, also comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and C T Ravikumar, that in money laundering cases relating to Vijay Mallya, Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi, the ED has confiscated around Rs 18,000 crore by the orders of the courts following due procedure.
He further said that 4,700 cases are being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) as on date, and only 313 people have been arrested for the alleged offences since the enactment of the PMLA in 2002.
Mehta then added that during the last five years, that is 2016-21, 2,186 cases were taken up for investigation.
“Out of 33 lakh predicate offences registered, ED has registered investigation only in 2,086 cases in five years. In five years, 33 lakh predicate offences are registered,” he said.
The solicitor general highlighted that corruption is a major generator of the proceeds of crime and money laundering.
He said India is a part of a global anti-money laundering network and there are various conventions which require all the member states to bring their respective money laundering law in tune with each other.
Vijay Mallya was the first businessman to be declared a fugitive offender in India, followed by Nirav Modi.
The government has stepped up efforts to extradite high-profile economic offenders like Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, who are wanted for their roles in bank frauds and money laundering.
Vijay Mallya is wanted in India in an alleged Rs 9,000 crore money laundering case related to loans made to his now-defunct Kingfisher Airline. He is currently on bail in London, while a confidential hearing related to his application seeking asylum in the country is being heard.
Fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi is lodged behind bars at Wandsworth Prison in south-west London since his arrest in March 2019. He is also facing charges of fraud and money laundering in Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam and is appealing against being extradited to India.
Nirav Modi’s uncle Mehul Choksi was also involved in this PNB scam and fled India in 2018. He has been in Antigua and Barbados since then.
(With inputs from agencies)