NEW DELHI The government said on Sunday it had revoked the passport of Vijay Mallya, the embattled tycoon and lawmaker who last month fled abroad as lenders pressured him to repay about $1.4 billion owed by his defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
Mallya has not disclosed his whereabouts since he flew first class out of New Delhi airport on March 2, his departure embarrassing the government at a time when it and the central bank have pledged to crack down on bank loan defaulters.
"After having considered replies (by Vijay Mallya), MEA revokes his passport," Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Vikas Swarup said in a tweet.
The foreign ministry had given Mallya a week to answer why his passport should not be impounded or revoked, and Swarup told Reuters on Sunday that the government was now consulting legal experts about how it could get Mallya deported to India.
Calls to a spokesman for Mallya's UB Group went unanswered.
Pressure on Mallya, who has said he is not an absconder, is mounting.
On Monday a court issued a warrant for his arrest and the Enforcement Directorate, a government agency fighting financial crime, has accused UB Group of using 4.3 billion rupees ($64.5 million) of bank loans to Kingfisher to buy property overseas.
Credit banks this month also rejected an offer of partial repayment by Mallya, who had given a personal guarantee for the Kingfisher loan, and have demanded that the former billionaire attend a hearing in India's Supreme Court.
Mallya, a member of the upper house of India's parliament, has said he would comply with the law.
Media reports traced him to the Hertfordshire village of Tewin, north of London, where the man once known as the "King of Good Times" for his extravagant lifestyle owns a house.
($1 = 66.6503 Indian rupees)
(Reporting by Tommy Wilkes and Douglas Busvine; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)
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