The ministry suspended Vijay Mallya’s passport on the recommendation of the Enforcement Directorate.
Liqour baron Vijay Mallya’s passport has been suspended by Ministry of External Affairs for four weeks. The ministry had taken this decision on the recommendation of Enforcement Directorate. Last month Mallya had sought time till April for making personal appearance before the probe agency but he failed to keep his words. Thus questions are being raised whether Mallya would return to India. Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines has defaulted on loans of over Rs 9,400 crores as the government has threatened to revoke his passport. He is currently in the United Kingdom even as banks are trying to recover the lumpsum amount owed by his firm.
“On the advice of the Enforcement Directorate, the Passport Issuing Authority in the MEA has suspended the validity of Vijay Mallya’s diplomatic passport with immediate effect for a period of 4 weeks, under Section 10 A of the Passports Act, 1967.
“Mallya has been asked to respond within one week as to why his passport should not be impounded or revoked under section 10(3)(c) of the Passports Act, 1967. 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 the revocation,” MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup 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.
“The move will bound Mallya to come back to India and cooperate with the probe agency. The foreign authorities perhaps force Mallya to abide with Indian laws,” said a senior official of ED
A group of 18 banks have until now rejected offers from Mallya for negotiations, including an offer to pay Rs 4,000 crore to the lenders by September and another Rs 2,000 crore if Kingfisher wins a lawsuit.
The banks had approached the Supreme Court in early-March to stop Mallya from travelling abroad. However, it was found that Mallya had already left for London after having attended the Budget session of Parliament on March 1.