Vijay Mallya seeks time till early April to appear before ED

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NEW DELHI: Liquor baron Vijay Mallya on Thursday sought time till April for making a personal appearance before the ED, virtually making it clear he would not present himself before the anti-money laundering agency pursuant to summons issued by it in the IDBI bank loan default case.
Officials said the beleaguered businessman has informed the Enforcement Directorate’s investigating officer that he would not be able to keep tomorrow’s date and sought time till April.

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They said the agency officials are mulling options and “studying the reply and reasons” cited by Mallya in his communication and will take a final decision soon whether to grant his request or not.
ED had earlier issued summonsto Mallya for “personal appearance” on March 18 under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

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The ED had recently registered a money laundering case against Mallya and others based on a CBI FIR registered last year. The agency is also investigating the overall financial structure of the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines and will look into any payment of kickbacks to secure loan.
The CBI had booked Mallya, the Chairman of Kingfisher Airlines, its Directors, former Chief Financial Officer of the airlines A Raghunathan and unknown officials of IDBI Bank in its FIR alleging that the loan was sanctioned in violation of norms regarding credit limits.
The ED is looking into the “proceeds of crime” that would have been generated using the slush funds of the alleged loan fraud. It is also probing if some of this amount was sent abroad illegally.

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The agency has also written to the 17-bank consortium, led by SBI, which lent money to the grounded airlines, and later went to the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) for recovery of these dues.
It has also sent official requests seeking details of the probe conducted by the Income Tax and Service Tax departments and the Serious Frauds Investigation Office (SFIO) against the airline in the past.
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Besides, the central agency is looking for details of overseas and domestic assets of Mallya and his company officials, in coordination with central security agencies and the CBI.
It has already questioned two senior officials in the money laundering case — Raghunathan and former United Breweries Chief Financial Officer Ravi Nedungadi along with a few other accused.