ED asks MEA to revoke Mallya’s passport

RSTV Bureau
Photo: PTI

Photo: PTI

There’s more trouble for liquor baron Vijay Mallya. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has now sought to revoke his passport in connection with a money laundering probe in the Rs 900 crore IDBI bank loan fraud case.

Officials said the agency has written to the Ministry of External Affairs to take action under the Passport Act, 1967 asking the Regional Passport Office (RPO) to revoke the diplomatic passport of the businessman because he turned “un-cooperative” with its investigators who were probing a criminal case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) at its zonal office in Mumbai.

It is believed Mallya left the country for UK on March 2 using his diplomatic passport which he had as a sitting member of the Rajya Sabha.

According to sources, the agency sought to revoke Mallya’s passport because the Investigating Officer complained of “non cooperation” from Mallya. The ED said Mallya was uncooperative even after the agency had given him fresh dates for personal appearance, not once but three times. The ED said that Mallya’s “non cooperation” was causing a lot of delay to the probe.

Once the ED request is okayed, the MEA will inform UK authorities and seek for his deportation to India.

Mallya has thrice failed to appear before the ED Investigating Officer in Mumbai in connection with the Rs 900 crore IDBI loan fraud case which the central probe agency is investigating under PMLA.

On all the three occasions when he was called– March 18, April 2 and April 9– Mallya had said that he will be unable to depose personally citing the ongoing legal proceedings going on in the Supreme Court over settlement of loans.

However, Mallya has suggested his legal team could help the ED in taking the probe forward.

“He is the main person in the case. His joining the investigations personally is very essential,” ED sources said.

Once Mallya’s Passport is revoked, ED still is left with the option to approach a competent court and get a non-bailable warrant issued against him and also ask the Interpol to issue a Red Corner Notice (RCN) against him and apprehend him anywhere across the globe.

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 Supreme Court to disclose all assets owned by him and his family in India and abroad by April 21.

(With inputs from PTI)