Liquor baron Vijay Mallya will not present himself before Enforcement Directorate (ED) investigators in Mumbai on Saturday even as he sought time till May to depose before the agency which is probing his role in a money laundering case in the over Rs. 900 crore IDBI loan fraud case.
The investigating officer of the case at ED’s Mumbai zonal office, officials said, has been informed by Mallya that he will not be able to keep the scheduled date of April 2 and that he should be given a fresh date, sometime in the month of May.
It is understood that Mallya has informed the IO that cases related to bank loans are currently ongoing in the Supreme Court and he is trying to settle these loans with the help of his legal and corporate team and, hence, would require some more time.
It is learnt that while ED is mulling options for its next action, it may not be “too keen” to accede to his request given the “gravity” of the PMLA case.
They said the IO has till now not got back to Mallya with his decision.
“His personal appearance is important to unravel the alleged irregularities reported to have been done in the IDBI loan fraud case. Money laundering offences probe are serious. Also, under PMLA, the onus to prove not guilty is on the accused and not on the investigating agency,” sources said.
The agency, by and large, has two options, either to agree and issue him a third date or undertake steps to possibly take legal action for revoking his passport. Mallya was first summoned by the central probe agency to “appear in person” at its office in the Ballard Pier area of the western metropolis on March 18 but after he sought more time citing his prior engagements, the agency asked him to depose on April 2.
“All options are open. The merits of the case will decide the future course of action,” sources said.
Mallya and Kingfisher Airlines Ltd HAD on March 30 submitted to the Supreme Court in a sealed cover a proposal for repayment of Rs. 4,000 crore out of the loan amount of Rs. 6,903 crore to the consortium of banks led by State Bank of India by September this year.
The United Breweries (UB) Chairman was first issued summons by ED under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and it required him to furnish documents related to his personal investments and finances, Income Tax Returns for the last five years and Passport.
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.