Mallya Evades ED For The 3rd Time In A Row


New Delhi: Loans defaulter Vijay Mallya will not appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday, in what will be the third time he hasn’t presented himself after being summoned, agencies reported.

The liquor baron has asked for a new date towards the end of May.

Mallya was supposed to present himself before the ED’s investigators in Mumbai on Saturday in connection with a money laundering probe in the more than Rs 900 crore IDBI loan fraud case.

ED officials had earlier hinted that the April 9 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 until now, both on technical and legal grounds.

ED officials did not say if the next legal course of action – revoking his passport – would be taken or whether they will go straight to getting a non-bailable warrant issued against him from a court.

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 the financial structure of the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines and is looking into any payment of kickbacks it made to secure loan the loan.

The agency had issued fresh summons – the third – last week to Mallya asking him to appear before it on April 9, after he sought two extensions from earlier dates.

Mallya was first summoned by the agency to “appear in person” at its office in Mumbai on March 18 but he sought more time citing his prior engagements, following which the agency asked him to depose on April 2.

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 would therefore require some more time.

Mallya, who is facing legal proceedings for alleged default of loans worth over Rs 9,000 crores from various banks, was on Thursday directed by the Supreme Court to disclose by April 21 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 March 2.

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.