ED seeks revocation of Vijay Mallya’s passport in money laundering case

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Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday sought the revocation of UB Group chairman Vijay Mallya’s passport as the agency probes money laundering allegations against him, two officials said.

“We have written to the regional passport office, Delhi for revocation of his passport,” said one of the two officials, requesting anonymity.

The ED expects to hear from the ministry of external affairs on its request in the 20-30 days.

UB Group declined to comment.

Last month, the agency registered a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act to trace the suspected diversion of a Rs.950 crore loan granted to Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines by IDBI Bank Ltd.

The investigative agency issued a third and final summons to Mallya, asking him to be personally present before it on 9 April. Mallya, who flew to an overseas destination on 2 March, did not heed the summons and sought time until May for appearing personally before the agency.

ED has been questioning senior executives of IDBI Bank Ltd and grounded Kingfisher Airlines Ltd for several rounds.

Since August 2014, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has been probing the alleged collusion between the airline and a few bank officials in granting loans to the airline despite its negative credit ratings and net worth.

ED is mandated with the task of enforcing the provisions of two special fiscal laws—Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999, and Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

On 7 April, a Supreme Court bench comprising justices Kurian Joseph and Rohinton F. Nariman sought clarity on Mallya’s return to India.

The Supreme Court also directed Mallya to disclose all assets held by him and his family, after a consortium of creditors rejected his offer to repay Rs.4,000 crore to settle the debts of his defunct airline.

The consortium, led by State Bank of India, informed the court that the creditors had unanimously rejected Mallya’s offer, but were willing to join negotiations for a settlement. Kingfisher owes the consortium Rs.9,000 crore.