Liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who is in the United Kingdom, today made it clear that he will not appear tomorrow before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the over Rs 900 crore IDBI bank loan default case and instead sought time till April to do so. ED had earlier issued summons to Mallya for “personal appearance” before it in Mumbai on March 18 under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
In a related development, Government made it clear that banks will recover every penny of loan of over Rs 9,000 crore given to his group firms.
“... his (Mallya’s) facts are very clear. Every government agency, whether its taxation department or investigative agency, wherever he has violated law, is going to take strong action. As far as banks are concerned, they are going to recover every penny of the rupee that they can from him,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.
The minister was answering questions at India Today Conclave in New Delhi on what the government was doing to recover money from Mallya.
ED said the agency officials are mulling options and “studying the reply and reasons” cited by Mallya in his communication seeking more time for appearing before it and will take a final decision soon whether to grant his request or not.
Mallya, promoter of long-grounded Kingfisher Airlines, had left India on March 2 and headed for UK, days before the Supreme Court heard a plea of clutch of state-owned banks seeking recovery of over Rs 9,000 crore from his group firms.
In Mumbai, auction of Kingfisher House, once the headquarters of Mallya’s defunct airline, proved to be a flop show today with no bids coming in, presumably due to litigation fears and a high reserve price of Rs 150 crore.
The auction of the property, with a built-up area of over 17,000 sq ft in Vile Parle area near domestic airport here, started at 1130 hrs and ended in about an hour with no success.
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.