NEW DELHI: Amidst the escalating political row over business tycoon Vijay Mallya flying to the UK just a week before 17 banks moved the Supreme Court seeking his detention citing the `9,000 crore he owes them, the Enforcement Directorate on Friday summoned him for questioning on March 18 regarding the alleged default of more than `900 crore loan from IDBI Bank. “Summons have been issued to Mallya under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in connection with the IDBI case and he has also been asked to furnish documents related to his personal finances,” said a senior ED officer, adding that the agency grilled co-accused
A Raghunathan, a former chief financial officer of the defunct Kingfisher Airlines, for seven hours in Mumbai.
Sources said Raghunathan was asked how part of the loans was siphoned off for foreign remittance and names of officers of IDBI Bank who facilitated loans despite knowing that Kingfisher was facing negative financials and negative net-worth. The agency has also asked former CMD of IDBI Bank Yogesh Aggarwal to join the probe by Saturday. Three other IDBI Bank officials have also been summoned.
But the CBI, which had registered a case against Mallya and others for money laundering, came under the scanner for allowing him to leave the country despite a Look Out Circular after investigation in the case pointed out that loan was sanctioned in collusion with top IDBI Bank officials.
The agency is accused of changing the nature of the lookout notice within a month of issuance — from seeking his detention while leaving the country to merely providing information about his travel plans. Defending itself, the CBI said, “The detention order issued against Mallya was an error by a lower-level officer.”
The controversial departure of Mallya in the middle of a massive loan default probe rocked Rajya Sabha for the second day on Friday with Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad asking the government why the CBI amended its lookout notice against the industrialist within a month last year. Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Azad said the CBI had amended the lookout notice against Mallya issued in October 2015 which had sought his detention if he tried to leave India. However in November, the order was changed to merely “inform” the authorities in case he left the country. What made the CBI change its original notice, the senior Congress leader asked and accused the government of being a party to the exit of the businessman when so many bank default cases were pending against him.
Taking potshots at the Congress, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the NDA government will not give any concession to Mallya like the Congress-led regime did to Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi.
However, Mallya, who is facing legal proceedings for alleged loan defaults to the tune of over `9,000 crore, said he will comply with the law of the land.
@TheVijayMallya: I Am Not Absconding
New Delhi: Beleaguered industrialist Vijay Mallya on Friday finally broke his silence through a series of tweets proclaiming his innocence and rubbishing the media ‘witch-hunt’ against him. He said once the witch-hunt started, it has escalated into a raging fire where truth and facts are burnt to ashes. He said he’s not running away, but defended his movement abroad as a business venture. “I am an international businessman. I travel to and from India frequently. I did not flee from India and neither am I an absconder. Rubbish,” he tweeted. He pointed out that as an MP he fully respects and will comply with the law of the land. “Our judicial system is sound and respected. But no trial by media.”
Taking a potshot at the media, he said, “Let media bosses not forget help, favours, accommodation that I have provided... which are documented. Now lies to gain TRP?” He added, “Reports that I must declare my assets. Does that mean that banks did not know my assets or look at my Parliamentary disclosures.”