New Delhi: Absconding tycoon Vijay Mallya has been declared a fugitive economic offender by a special anti-money laundering court in Mumbai, the first tycoon to be named under the new law to prevent financial fraud.
The tag now allows the government to confiscate his properties in the country.
Mallya currently faces extradition from the United Kingdom, where the liquor baron fled to in 2016, after a court ordered his return to India to face fraud charges resulting from the collapse of his defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
Mallya left India in March 2016 owing more than $1 billion after defaulting on loan payments to state-owned banks and allegedly misusing the funds. The loans from the state-owned IDBI bank were intended to bail out his failed carrier Kingfisher Airlines.
Mallya said in July that he had made an "unconditional offer" to an Indian court in a bid to settle the charges, but denies that was an admission of guilt.
"I cannot understand how my extradition decision... and my settlement offer are linked in any way," he had tweeted on December 10.
"Wherever I am physically, my appeal is 'please take the money'. I want to stop the narrative that I stole money," he added.
Known for his lavish lifestyle, Mallya made Kingfisher beer a global brand. He stepped down as the director of the IPL team Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2017.
His financial dealings are being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate.
Mallya was once known as the "King of Good Times" but dropped off India's most wealthy list in 2014, engulfed by Kingfisher Airlines' massive debts.
He has been living in a sprawling $15 million mansion in southeast England but has denied absconding.\