No Confirmation If Vijay Mallya Would Appear Before Enforcement Directorate Today

New Delhi/Mumbai: Enforcement Directorate (ED) is yet to receive a communication in reply to its third summons issued against liquor baron Vijay Mallya to present himself before its investigators in Mumbai today in connection with a money laundering probe in the over Rs. 900 crore IDBI loan fraud case.

The agency had issued fresh summons, also the third, last week to Mr Mallya asking him to appear before it on April 9, after he sought two extensions from the earlier dates of March 18 and April 2 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 April 9 summons could possibly be the last to Mr 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 Mr 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.

Mr 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.

Mr Mallya, who is facing legal proceedings for alleged default of loans worth over Rs. 9,000 crore from various banks, was also on Friday directed by the Supreme Court to disclose by April 21 the total assets owned by him and his family in India and abroad.

The top court also sought an indication from him when he will appear before it.

The directions by the top 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 Mr 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.

The ED has registered a money laundering case against Mr Mallya and others, based on an FIR registered last year by the CBI. The agency is also investigating financial structure of the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines and looking into any payment of kickbacks to secure loan.