Government Tightens Screw, Annuls Passport of Vijay Mallya

Liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s passport was on Sunday revoked by the Ministry of External Affairs, in a development that is seen as a step closer to initiating the process for his deportation.

Published: 25th April 2016 05:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th April 2016 06:01 AM   |  A+A-

Vijay Mallya AFP

Chairman and CEO of India's Kingfisher Airlines Vijay Mallya talks on his cellphone during a meeting with pilots in New Delhi on March 15, 2012. (File | AFP)

NEW DELHI/LONDON:Liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s passport was on Sunday revoked by the Ministry of External Affairs, in a development that is seen as a step closer to initiating the process for his deportation. Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines has been accused of defaulting on bank loans of over Rs 9,400 crore.

Govt.jpgExternal Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, “Having considered the reply furnished by Vijay Mallya to the showcause notice, facts got by Enforcement Directorate and non-bailable warrant under the PMLA Act, 2002, issued by special judge in Mumbai, the MEA has revoked the passport of Vijay Mallya.”

Meanwhile, a British media report said Mallya’s name appears on the electoral rolls in the UK with his country home as his address. The tycoon has been living at a three-storey mansion called Ladywalk in Tewin in Hertfordshire, about an hour’s drive from London, the Sunday Times reported.

According to the report, Mallya said “my official address in the UK is at Ladywalk”, adding that he had supplied the information to Indian authorities as well. The 11.5-million-pound mansion was bought from the father of British F1 champion Lewis Hamilton by a company with offshore links.

According to sources, once the MEA decides to seek the deportation of Mallya, who is believed to be in the UK after leaving India on March 2, the ministry will ask for its British counterpart’s assistance in the matter. 

The 11.5-million-pound mansion was bought from the father of British F1 champion Lewis Hamilton by a company with offshore links. “The ownership structure of Ladywalk is perfectly legal,” the newspaper quoted Mallya as saying.

The Ministry of External Affairs has been exploring legal options regarding deportation of Mallya, who has ignored three summons by the Enforcement Directorate which is looking into charges of alleged money laundering and other financial irregularities.

The ministry had suspended Mallya’s diplomatic passport on April 15 and issued a showcause notice to him asking him why his passport should not be revoked.

According to sources, once the MEA decides to seek the deportation of Mallya, who is believed to be in the UK after leaving India on March 2, the ministry will ask for its British counterpart’s assistance in the matter.

The sources maintained that after the revocation of the passport his stay abroad is illegal and he should come back. “The future course of action will depend on various factors, as well as the steps taken by investigating agencies which now can issue Letters Rogatory,” the sources said.

The ED has approached the MEA seeking initiation of deportation proceedings against Mallya, charged with money laundering in the Rs 900 crore IDBI loan fraud case. “The grounds for deportation are primarily two. A non-bailable warrant issued by the Mumbai court and revocation of the passport of the businessman,” the sources added.

After the decision, Mallya can move Indian courts challenging the revocation of his passport. He can also approach British authorities to grant him permission to continue his stay there.

Mallya, who had refused to appear before the ED on three occasions when summoned between March 10 and April 2, had left the country on March 2, the day a consortium of 13 banks that had lent him money tightened the squeeze on him by moving the Debt Recovery Tribunal.

Failing to respond to the ED summonses, Mallya had repeatedly sought fresh dates but the agency declined any further relief.

The ED noted that despite summons to him to join the investigation on three occasions, Mallya deliberately avoided his personal appearance, which is a statutory requirement before the agency, in defiance of due procedures. Investigations by multiple agencies are also underway into  several irregularities and criminal misconduct allegedly committed by Mallya.

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