The CBI has started tracking the money trail of all the transactions and loans taken by business tycoon Vijay Mallya and Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) totalling Rs. 7, 000 crore since 2004.
"Our prime focus is to find out the money trail of loans flowing in from all the 17 banks to the accounts of Mallya, his other associates, his defunct airline (Kingfisher Airlines) and others. " a CBI source told IANS.
The source said only by trailing the money will they be able to find its use or misuse.
"We have to reach the final destination of the money to find out if the borrowings were used by Mallya for other purposes, the source said.
Officials looking to trace the money had found that over five lakh transactions had been made in several accounts.
Over 60 per cent of the five lakh such transactions - - around three lakh - - had been diverted to accounts in four countries, the source said.
The CBI is in touch with different agencies through various channels to find out the assets that Mallya may own in the four countries. It is also seeking further details of the transactions abroad.
The CBI has expanded the ambit of the probe to 16 more public sector banks from which Mallya and KFA had borrowed money since 2004.
So far, the CBI has been investigating defaults worth Rs. 900 crore on loans taken from IDBI during October - November 2009.
None of the 17 banks has, however, filed a complaint with the CBI as yet. The agency had registered a case in July 2015 under provisions related to criminal breach of trust and criminal conspiracy in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and some sections of Prevention of Corruption Act.
The agency had filed the case against Mallya, KFA, the firm's then chief financial officer A Raghunathan and unknown IDBI Bank officials.
The CBI source said that IDBI had been informed about the wrongdoings twice - - first in 2012 and then in 2014.
"In early 2016, we also informed the United Bank of India that loans may have been misused. But neither of the banks approached us with any complaint, " the source said.
CBI's expanded its probe a week after Mallya left the country on March 2.
(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at rajnish. s@ians. in)