Vijay Mallya has failed to show up on all the three occasions when he was called — March 18, April 2 and April 9, 2016.
The Ministry of External Affairs Ministry (MEA) on Friday suspended the validity of liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s diplomatic passport for four weeks.
It took the step on a request from the Enforcement Directorate (ED). It also directed him to respond within one week as to why it should not be impounded or revoked under Section 10(3)(c) of the Passports Act,1967.
“On the advice of the ED, the passport issuing authority in the Ministry of External Affairs has suspended the validity of Mr. Mallya’s diplomatic passport with immediate effect for a period of four weeks, under Section 10 A of the Passports Act,1967
” said an MEA spokesperson.
“If he fails to respond within the stipulated time, it will be assumed that he has no response to offer and the MEA will go ahead with revocation,” he said.
On Wednesday, the ED approached the MEA, seeking the revocation of Mr. Mallya’s passport, as the Kingfisher Airlines’ promoter did not join the money laundering probe against him despite three notices.
The second-time Rajya Sabha member, whose term ends on June 2, holds a diplomatic passport issued by the Delhi Regional Passport Office.
The ED is investigation the money laundering charges against the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines and Mr. Mallya in connection with Rs.900-crore IDBI Bank loan default case registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
In March, a Hyderabad court issued a non-bailable warrant against him in a case of alleged dishonour of a cheque for Rs.50 lakh issued to GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited.
According to sources, the ED may also approach the court seeking a non-bailable warrant against him in the bank loan default case.
Under the Passport Act, when a person is issued a diplomatic passport their regular international travel document gets deposited. If the diplomatic passport is revoked, the latter too gets cancelled.
Mr. Mallya has thrice failed to appear before the ED IO in Mumbai in connection with the IDBI loan fraud case.
On all the three occasions when he was called — March 18, April 2 and April 9 — Mr. Mallya said that he would be unable to depose personally, citing the ongoing legal proceedings in the Supreme Court over settlement of loans.
However, it is understood, that he has suggested his legal team could help the ED in taking the probe forward.
Once Mr. Mallya’s passport is revoked, there was a need to approach a competent court and get issued a non-bailable warrant against him and also ask the Interpol to issue a Red Corner Notice against him and apprehend him anywhere across the globe.
Loan fraud case: ED seeks Non-Bailable Arrest Warrant against Vijay Mallya
In more trouble for beleaguered businessman Vijay Mallya, the Enforcement Directorate today moved the special PMLA court here seeking non-bailable warrant against him in connection with a money laundering probe in the over Rs 900 crore IDBI loan fraud case.
“We have moved the court seeking NBW against him and the hearing is likely to take place tomorrow,” said an ED official.
Government today suspended the passposrt of Mallya, whose Kingfisher Airlines has defaulted on loans of over Rs 9,400 crores and who has been defying Enforcement Directorate summons, and even threatened to revoke it.
The 60-year-old industrialist, who has been in Britain for over a month, had skipped three summonses issued by the agency. He had also sought time till May to depose before the officials.
On April 9, in reply to the last summons, Mallya had informed the Investigating Officer (IO) of the case here that he will be unable to depose personally as scheduled citing the ongoing legal proceedings going in the Supreme Court over settlement of loans.
The agency had issued fresh summons in the first week of April to Mallya asking him to appear on April 9 after he sought two extensions from the earlier dates of March 18 and April 2 citing official reasons.
The officials said that while seeking extension Mallya had informed the ED that cases related to bank loans were currently sub-judice in the Supreme Court and he was trying to settle these loans with the help of his legal and corporate team and, hence, would require some more time.
Mallya was first summoned by the agency to “appear in person” at its office in Mumbai on March 18 but he sought more time citing his prior engagements, following which the agency asked him to depose on April 2.
Mallya was also directed by the Supreme Court to disclose all assets owned by him and his family in India and abroad by April 21.
The liquor baron is reported to be in the UK after he left India on March 2.
Mr. Mallya, who is facing legal proceedings for alleged default of loans worth over Rs 9,000 crore from various banks, was directed by the Supreme Court to disclose all assets owned by him and his family in India and abroad by April 21.
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