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Vijay Mallya seeks time till April, won’t appear before ED tomorrow

Liquor baron Vijay Mallya, wanted in India on charges of money laundering, has sought time till April to appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which investigates financial crimes.

business Updated: Mar 17, 2016 18:04 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Vijay Mallya,CBI,IDBI case against Mallya
Businessman Vijay Mallya arrives for the Indian Derby 2015 at the Mahalaxmi race course in Mumbai. Mallya has left India after calls for his arrest on charges of money laundering.(AP)

Liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who faces charges of loan defaults and suspected money laundering, has sought time till April to appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which investigates financial crimes.

Mallya, once dubbed the “king of good times” and known for his flashy lifestyle, left the country on March 2 after calls for his arrest. The former UB Group chairperson owes more than Rs 9,000 crore to 17 banks.

ED officials are considering options and “studying the reply and reasons” cited by Mallya in a letter. Soon, they are expected to take a decision on whether to grant his request.

Read: No bidders for Vijay Mallya’s Kingfisher House on day 1 of auction

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a Rs 900-crore loan default case involving the 60-year-old Mallya and IDBI Bank. No other bank has approached the central agency.

The ED is also looking into the IDBI case and has issued summons against Mallya. It has asked Mallya for a “personal appearance” on March 18 under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The CBI has alleged that Kingfisher Airlines, which stopped operations in October 2012, diverted a substantial chunk of the loans secured from public sector banks to tax havens for purposes not specified in applications. The domestic airline was promoted by Mallya.

Mallya has said he is an ‘international businessman’ who travels in and out of the country, asserting he is not an “absconder”.

The government, facing Opposition pressure for allegedly letting Mallya escape, has assured that every penny that is due to state-run banks will be recovered.

Read: KF house auction: What’s a Rs 150 cr asset compared to Rs 7000 cr debt?

Besides IDBI, the 10 public sector banks whose loans have come under the scrutiny are: State Bank of India (SBI), UCO bank, Punjab National Bank, Vijaya Bank, Bank of Baroda, Corporation Bank, Bank of India, United Bank of India, State Bank of Mysore and Indian Overseas Bank.

A consortium led by the SBI wants to liquidate Mallya’s assets to recover the loans.

A prime Mumbai property of Mallya failed to draw buyers on Thursday in the first few hours after it was put up for auction.

(With agency inputs)

Read: Can India bring Vijay Mallya back? Only time will tell

First Published: Mar 17, 2016 17:21 IST