Vijay Mallya, chairman of the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, on Saturday, did not present himself before the enforcement directorate officials in connection with alleged money laundering probe in the over Rs 900 crore IDBI loan fraud case, according to official sources.
Mallya, said ED sources, has once again sought time till May to depose before the agency in case registered against him under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Sources said Mallya, however, has suggested his legal team can help ED in the investigation. This is the third time when Mallya has not appeared before the ED despite being summoned.
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The agency had issued fresh summons last week to Mallya asking him to appear on April 9 after he sought two extensions from the earlier dates of March 18 and April 2 citing official reasons. The ED has already issued three summons to Mallya, the maximum time allowed under PMLA.
Since Mallya has failed to appear before ED officials once again , the investigating agency has two options in the case. The ED can either revoke Mallya’s passport or move court to obtain a non-bailable warrant against him.
Official sources said the ED is yet to decide its next course of action in the case. According to an official, Mallya has informed the agency that he is trying to settle bank loans.
Kingfisher Airlines has defaulted on bank loans of over Rs 7,000 crore. Kingfisher owes over Rs 9,000 crore to 17 banks in the country. The company and it’s senior officials including Mallya have come under the scanner of multiple investigating agencies in the country such as the CBI, SFIO and the ED.
The Supreme Court is also hearing a case filed by the banks against Mallya over settlement of loans. The Supreme court has directed Mallya to disclose his assets in the court.
The apex court issued the directive after State Bank of India-led consortium of public sector banks rejected his Rs 4,000-crore loan repayment proposal.
Banks informed the court that Mallya’s offer to pay Rs 2,000 crore upfront and another Rs 2,000 crore by September is not acceptable to them. Banks said Mallya has been informed about the rejection of the offer and a revised proposal was mooted by his representatives two days ago but it was also not satisfactory and the chances of getting the money looked distant.
SBI and Punjab National Bank have already declared Kingfisher as a wilful defaulter. The Supreme Court bench had last month questioned the public sector banks over advancing loans to Mallya and his companies without securing enough assets as collateral.