Liquor baron Vijay Mallya has refused to present himself before the investigators in Mumbai on Saturday in connection with a money laundering probe in the IDBI loan fraud case, citing the ongoing legal proceedings going in the Supreme Court over settlement of loans, according to agencies. He has sought time till May end to respond to Enforcement Directorate’s notice.
However, it is understood that the liquor baron has suggested his legal team can help ED in taking the probe forward.
Agency sources did not immediately comment as to what next step the agency will take now as he has sought time till May, a request he made to the IO last week too and which was turned down.
“The next action will be decided in due course,” they said.
The agency had issued fresh summons, last week to Mallya asking him to appear before it on 9 April, after he sought two extensions from the earlier dates of 18 March and 2 April citing certain official reasons.
Officials said they have no news on either his coming to join the probe or absenting again.
They did not also say if the next legal course of action, in case the United Breweries (UB) group chairman chooses to skip the date, of revoking his passports would be taken or they will straight away go for getting a non-bailable warrant issued against him from a court.
ED officials had earlier hinted that the 9 April summons could possibly be the last to Mallya as under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) such action can be undertaken for a maximum of three times only.
The Investigating Officer (IO) of the case had allowed his plea to postpone his appearance till now, both on technical and legal grounds.
It is understood that Mallya, while seeking the extensions, had informed the IO that cases related to bank loans were currently sub-judice in the Supreme Court and he was trying to settle these loans with the help of his legal and corporate team and, hence, would require some more time.
Mallya was first summoned by the agency to “appear in person” at its office in Mumbai on 18 March but he sought more time citing his prior engagements, following which the agency asked him to depose on 2 April.
Mallya, who is facing legal proceedings for alleged default of loans worth over Rs 9,000 crore from various banks, was also on Thursday directed by the Supreme Court to disclose by 21 April the total assets owned by him and his family in India and abroad.
The apex court also sought an indication from him when he will appear before it.
The directions by the apex court came after a consortium of banks led by State Bank of India “unanimously rejected” his proposal, in the current form, to pay Rs 4,000 crore by September towards settlement of his loan.
The bench agreed with the consortium that Mallya’s presence was necessary in the country to show his bona fides that he was serious about settling his dues.
He is currently reported to be in the UK after he left India on 2 March.
The ED has registered a money laundering case against Mallya and others, based on an FIR registered last year by the CBI. The agency is also investigating financial structure of the now defunct KFA and looking into any payment of kickbacks to secure loan.