The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday sought revocation of embattled liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s passport, mounting pressure on the sitting Rajya Sabha MP who owes more than Rs 9,200 crores to a group of banks in India.
Mallya, 60, once called the ‘king of good times’ for his extravagant lifestyle, left India on March 2 as the creditor banks closed in on him to recover the huge loan amount owed by his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
Mallya ignored three summons to appear before ED but claimed in a tweet that he was not on the run and would abide by the law.
Sources said the ED approached the passport office in Mumbai on Wednesday seeking revocation of Mallya’s passport in a Rs 900-crore IDBI bank loan fraud case.
“A passport is a valid document to stay in a foreign country and with its revocation, he will not be able to stay (wherever he is),” said a source.
Officials said the agency has also written to the external affairs ministry to take action under the Passport Act, 1967 and ask the passport office in Delhi to revoke his diplomatic passport as he has turned out to be “un-cooperative” with its investigators.
Mallya is understood to have left for UK on his diplomatic passport though his exact whereabouts are not known.
Once the passport is revoked, ED has the option to approach a court for a non-bailable warrant against him and also ask the Interpol to issue a red corner notice (RCN) that will facilitate his arrest anywhere across the globe.
The sources added that ED decided to move the passport office after the consortium of banks rejected Mallya’s offer to pay Rs 4,000 crore by September towards settlement of his loan.
The banks, led by the State Bank of India (SBI), have also demanded that Mallya be personally present at the next hearing of the case in Supreme Court on April 26.
The top court has asked Mallya to disclose all assets owned by him and his family in India and abroad by April 21.
(With agency inputs)