Indian crime agency wants Mallya’s passport revoked

Vijay Mallya

India’s financial crimes agency revealed it has asked the government to revoke Vijay Mallya’s passport, after the indebted tycoon failed to appear before investigators in connection with a loan fraud probe.

After issuing three summonses for the 60-year-old liquor baron, who is believed to be in the UK, the Enforcement Directorate has now turned to the country’s foreign ministry for assistance.

The founder of the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines is also being chased by a group of mostly state-run banks over $1.34 billion in unpaid loans.

“We’ve made a request for that (Mallya’s passport to be revoked). He is not complying with the summons which we have issued,” an Enforcement Directorate spokesman told AFP.

“It appears he is deliberately trying to avoid coming back. Once his passport is revoked, the country he is staying in should deport him.”

Mallya, who has not been charged with any crime, is being sought by the agency in connection with an alleged case of loan fraud involving state-run IDBI Bank in Mumbai.

IDBI allegedly made loans to Kingfisher Airlines despite knowing it was suffering financial troubles, leading the bank to sustain losses of nine billion rupees ($135 million). The airline ceased operations in 2012.

India’s Central Bureau of Investigation registered an initial case against Mallya in October 2015, prompting the financial crimes agency to launch a probe.

Separately, the banks chasing Mallya over his unpaid debts last week turned down his offer to repay $600 million by the end of September.

The Supreme Court has ordered the embattled tycoon to disclose his total assets, as well as those of his wife and children, by April 21.

Mallya, a member of parliament, left the country on March 2 on a diplomatic passport, the Press Trust of India said. Despite his absence he continues to tweet regularly on topics including Formula One – he owns a stake in the Force India F1 team – and cricket.