Ramachandran Vishwanathan, the CEO of Devas Multimedia Private Limited, has been labelled a Fugitive Economic Offender (FEO) by a Special Court in Bengaluru.In a Prevention of Money Laundering Act lawsuit brought by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED), he is one of nine defendants.
In the 2018 case, the nine are accused of sending 85% of the Rs 579 crore from Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of ISRO, to the United States. In 2011, the government cancelled the agreement under which Devas planned to employ two ISRO satellites to deliver multimedia services in rural locations
The National Company Law Tribunal liquidated Devas Multimedia in 2021; Vishwanathan is the second accused in the case; the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) initially filed a case against the accused; and later the ED filed a separate case. On Thursday, special public prosecutor P Prasanna Kumar requested before Judge K L Ashok of the 21st Additional City Civil and Sessions Judge, the Special Judge for CBI cases, that Vishwanathan be declared a FEO and his property be forfeit. The court observed that after serving Vishwanathan with a summons, a non-bailable warrant was issued for his arrest when he failed to show up. There is still an NBW.
“Therefore, the requirement under Section 2(F) of Fugitive Economic Offender Act is clearly applicable to Vishwanathan,” the court said. Declaring him a FEO, the court said, “The application filed by the Directorate of Enforcement, Bengaluru zonal officer, dated May 4, 2022 under Section 10 and 12 of Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 is allowed and accused number two Ramachandran Vishwanathan has been declared a fugitive economic offender.”
Written By- Smrutiman Anantveer Mohanty, College Name- Army Law College, Pune, Semester- Smrutiman Anantveer Mohanty, an intern under Legal Vidhiya