The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday suspended the diplomatic passport of liquor-baron Vijay Mallya, who is facing investigations on the default of Rs9,000 crore worth bank loans and financial irregularities on Enforcement Directorate’s request.
Passport of Vijay Mallya suspended by the Government of India on request of Enforcement Directorate
— ED (@dir_ed) April 15, 2016
The Enforcement Directorate on 13 April sought revocation of the passport of liquor baron Vijay Mallya who has failed to appear before the agency thrice in connection with its money laundering probe in the Rs 900 crore IDBI bank loan fraud case.
Following is the MEA statement on Mallya's passport suspension: On the advice of the Enforcement Directorate, the Passport Issuing Authority in the Ministry of External Affairs has today suspended the validity of Mr. Vijay Mallya's diplomatic passpost with immedidate effect for a period of 4 weeks, under Section 10 A of the Passports Act, 1967. Mr Mallya has been asked to respond within one week as to why his passport should not be impounded or revoked under section 10(3)(c) of the Passports Act, 1967. IF he fails to respond within the stipulated time, it will be assumed that he has no response to offer and the MEA will go ahead with the revocation.
Under the Passport Act, when a person is issued a diplomatic passport their regular international travel document gets deposited. If the diplomatic passport is revoked the latter too gets cancelled.
Earlier, ED had 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 Rajya Sabha MP as he has turned out to be "un-cooperative" with its investigators probing the criminal case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) at its zonal office in Mumbai.
The agency, it is understood, has also cited various pending court cases against Mallya in connection with alleged loan de-frauds and dishonouring of cheques.
It is understood that Mallya left the country for the United Kingdom on March 2 using a diplomatic passport issued by the Delhi RPO to him by virtue of him being a sitting Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament.
The agency, sources said, while making the request has also informed that despite cooperating with Mallya thrice by way of providing him fresh dates for personal appearance, the Investigating Officer (IO) of the case has only met with "non cooperation" which is leading to a delay in taking the probe forward.
Once the ED request is okayed, the MEA will inform UK authorities about the same and seek his deportation to India.
Mallya had thrice failed to appear before the ED IO 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 in the Supreme Court over settlement of loans.
However, it is understood, that he has suggested his legal team can help ED in taking the probe forward. "He is the main person in the case. His joining the investigations personally is very essential," they said.
Once Mallya's passport is revoked, ED still is left with the option to approach a competent court and get issued a non-bailable warrant 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
Updated Date: Apr 16, 2016 09:03 AM