Along with Mallya and Modi, 36 businessmen have fled the country: Enforcement Directorate

While investigating further on AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam, it came to light that along with liquor baron Vijay Mallya and fugitive Nirav Modi, there are 36 more businessmen who have fled the country.

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On Monday, the bail plea of Sushen Mohan Gupta was opposed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). Gupta is allegedly a defence agent who has been arrested in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam. The ED rejected his plea by saying that there was a possibility of him fleeing the country – like 36 other businessmen who had criminal cases against them and have fled. 

Vijay Mallya, Lalit Modi, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and Sandesara brothers of Sterling Biotech Ltd. promoters are among the 36 businessmen who have fled the country. 

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The ED’s statement in court is not the first time the Centre or its agencies have publicly acknowledged that a large number of affluent Indians facing criminal charges have managed to dodge investigation by fleeing from the country.

Earlier this year, in January, minister of state for finance, Shiv Pratap Shukla told the Lok Sabha that 27 people who were facing charges for economic offences and loan default had fled the country in the last five years alone. Shukla also said that Interpol has been asked to issue red-corner notices against 20 of these people.

In March 2018, then minister of state for external affairs M.J. Akbar told the parliament that 31 businessmen facing charges had fled. These included individuals facing charges from the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation. After this list was compiled, the Centre reportedly compiled a list of 91 people who would not be allowed to leave the country. This included heads and owners of companies listed as wilful defaulters.

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