India, New Delhi: Today, India suspended the passport of liquor baron Vijay Mallya. “Vijay Mallya’s passport has been suspended by the External Affairs Ministry on the recommendation of Enforcement Directorate, reported PTI quoting official sources.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had sought revocation of his passport after Mallya failed to appear before the agency thrice. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) may now seek his deportation from the UK. The agency had sought revocation of Vijay Mallya’s passport in connection with money laundering probe in over Rs 900 crore IDBI loan fraud case.
Officials said the agency has written to the Ministry of External Affairs to take action under the Passport Act, 1967 and ask the Regional Passport Office (RPO) here to revoke the diplomatic passport of the beleaguered businessman as he has turned out to be “un-cooperative” with its investigators probing a criminal case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) at its zonal office in Mumbai.
Under the Passport Act, when a person is issued a diplomatic passport, their regular international travel document gets deposited and when a revocation is sought for the former is sought, the latter too gets cancelled. Mallya had last week informed the Investigating Officer (IO) of the case in Mumbai that he will be unable to depose personally citing the ongoing legal proceedings going on in the Supreme Court over settlement of loans. He, however, had suggested his legal team could help ED in taking the probe forward. The agency had issued fresh summons last week to Mallya asking him to appear on April 9 after he sought two extensions from the earlier dates of March 18 and April 2.
Mallya, who is facing legal proceedings for alleged default of loans worth over Rs 9,000 crore from various banks, was also directed by the apex court to disclose all assets owned by him and his family in India and abroad by April 21. He is reported to be in the UK after he left India on March 2. ED has registered a money laundering case against Mallya and others based on an FIR registered last year by the CBI. The agency is also investigating financial structure of the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines and looking into any payment of kickbacks to secure loans.