NEW DELHI: The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has suspended for four weeks big-loan defaulter and liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s diplomatic passport on the advice of the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The ED, probing alleged money laundering pertaining to the Rs 900 crore loan from IDBI Bank to Mallya, had asked that his passport be revoked for non-cooperation after he failed to appear before its investigators despite being summoned thrice between March and April.
The MEA said the issuing authority in the ministry on Friday suspended the validity of Mallya’s passport for four weeks with immediate effect.
“Mallya has been asked to respond within one week on 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 he has no response to offer and the MEA will go ahead with revocation,” said MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup.
The agency moved a special PMLA court in Mumbai seeking a non-bailable warrant against Mallya, who had left the country on March 2.
The warrant, a source said, is the first step to seek his extradition if he refuses to respond within a week.