Embattled businessman Vijay Mallya may face deportation to India if he fails to respond to the government suspending his diplomatic passport for a month. The Enforcement Directorate (ED), that is investigating Mallya for money-laundering in the Rs 900 crore IDBI bank loan fraud case, has moved a special court seeking a non-bailable warrant against him, and the matter is expected to come up for hearing on Saturday.
Mallya failed to appear before the ED in Mumbai despite three summons, leading to the central agency seeking the revocation of his passport.
Responding to the request, the ministry of foreign affairs on Friday temporarily suspended the diplomatic passport of Mallya, a sitting Rajya Sabha MP, seeking a response in a week.
Failing this, the ministry said Mallya’s passport would be revoked under Section 10(3)(c) of the Passports Act, 1967, opening doors for the ED to get a non-bailable warrant and have him apprehend him anywhere in the world.
“If he fails to respond within the stipulated time, it will be assumed that he has no response to offer and the foreign ministry will go ahead with the revocation,” ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said in a statement on Twitter.
Mallya is being prosecuted for loans taken to fund Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) that was grounded in 2012. The former liquor baron first took loans from IDBI bank in 2006. In 2009, he also received loans from a consortium of 17 banks. However, the loans were never repaid, with the banks terming Mallya a ‘wilful defaulter’.
As the consortium sought to recover the dues, Mallya left the country on March 2, and is believed to have gone to the UK. The business also informed ED investigators that he will be unable to depose in the case personally as he also had legal proceedings in the Supreme Court over settlement of a loans case.
On March 30, Mallya’s counsel told the Supreme Court that he offered to pay Rs.4,000 crore to settle outstanding dues against the grounded KFA on account of loans extended by the consortium, headed by the SBI. The banks however turned down Mallya’s offer.
(With PTI inputs)