New Delhi, April 15: On the request of Enforcement Directorate the Ministry of External Affairs today suspended the passport of liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who is London at a time when banks are struggling to recover nearly a billion dollars owed by his Kingfisher Airlines.
Mallya, 60, has defied several requests made by the Indian authorities and several probing agencies asking him to return back to Mumbai for interrogation. However he left India last month without informing the probing agencies. The ED authorities who are probing the Mallya and his defunct airline are likely to issue an Interpol Red Corner Notice (RCN) against Mallya.
Mallya’s diplomatic passport was suspended by the Foreign Ministry on the recommendation of the enforcement Directorate after the ‘millionaire’ liquor baron failed to appear before them in last 45 days. Read Also: (Panama Papers: Vijay Mallya has direct link to Virgin Islands firm New Venture Holding)
Last week the Central probing agency had written to the passport office, saying, Mr Mallya has not cooperated with their investigation and has been unable to offer “reasonable justification for skipping summons thrice”.
Mallya, who had moved to London last month was asked to appear before the ED for questioning in connection with a money laundering case of Rs 900 crore in which IDBI bank had provided loan to Mallya’s company.
Mallya has sought time till May as he said that the ongoing proceedings in the Supreme Court over the settlement offered by him of his loans. According to a report, once an accused skips summons thrice, the agency is left with two options – revoking his passport or getting a non-bailable warrant out against him.
On March 18 Mallya was first summoned by the Enforcement Directorate to “appear in person” at its office in Mumbai. However when mallya failed to appear before ED citing his prior engagements, the agency asked him to depose on April 2. Then he was given time till April 9 which he failed again.
Mallya’s lawyer contended that his client is available via video conference, which indicates that he is available and not absconding. It was through a video call that mallya offered to pay Rs 4,000 crore to a consortium of banks by September.
The banks have rejected the offer and told the Supreme Court that for meaningful negotiations, and requested Mallya’s presence in the country to investigate the case in person.
The ED is now left with few more options. After cancelling his passport the ED is likely to issue a Interpol Red Corner Notice against Mallya after which the flamboyant businessman will won’t be able to cross borders of United Kingdom.