Till March 18, it’s wait-and-watch for the investigating agencies and the government before any action can be initiated against Vijay Mallya.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned the beleaguered businessman to appear before it on Friday. Directorate sources say they have not yet received any response to the summons issued under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
While speculation that Mallya will not return to India is gaining ground, attorney general of India Mukul Rohatgi says, “As far as the SC notice is concerned, it does not mandate Mallya to appear in person.” The businessman’s legal counsel can also represent him.
But Mallya could be in trouble with the ED summon. “The summon under PMLA makes it mandatory for Vijay Mallya to appear in person. He can’t send his legal representative” explains a directorate source. He further clarifies that if the businessman fails to show up, ED is likely to revoke his passport.
Government sources say they are not yet chalking out a plan to bring Mallya back to India. “First Mallya needs to be proclaimed an absconder, only then will the government look at options of bringing him back. Revoking his passport is definitely an option,” says a top source in the government.
Criminal lawyer, Majeed Memon points out, “Deportation or extradition are options before the government depending on where Mallya is and India’s relation with that country.”
Extradition is the official process through which one country transfers a suspected or convicted criminal to another country, at its request. Whereas, deportation is the process through which a country sends a person back to his/her resident country, when the laws of the host country do not permit the foreigner to stay on.
But for either of these to kick in, points out Memon, Mallya will have to be declared an absconder.