Vijay Mallya to personally appear before ED in April

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Mumbai, Mar 18: Liquor baron Vijay Mallya on Thursday sought time till April for making personal appearance before the ED, saying he will not be able to keep today's date pursuant to the summons issued against him by the agency in the IDBI bank loan default case.

ED sources said the agency may accept his plea and give him time to present himself, probably in the first half of April.

Vijay Mallya

Officials said the beleaguered businessman informed the Enforcement Directorate's investigating officer through email that he would not be able to keep tomorrow's date and sought time till April.

They said after "studying the reply and reasons" cited by Mallya, including a communication he said he made to some agencies earlier that he would be out of India in March, it is likely that he would be given a fresh date.

ED had earlier issued summons to Mallya for "personal appearance" on March 18 under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). 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.

The ED is looking into the "proceeds of crime" that could have been generated using the slush funds of the alleged loan fraud. It is also probing if some of this amount was sent abroad illegally.

The agency has also written to the 17-bank consortium, led by SBI, which lent money to the grounded airlines, and later went to the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) for recovery of these dues. It has also sent official requests seeking details of the probe conducted by the Income Tax and Service Tax departments and the Serious Frauds Investigation Office (SFIO) against the airline in the past.

Besides, the central agency is looking for details of overseas and domestic assets of Mallya and his company officials, in coordination with central security agencies and the CBI.

It has already questioned two senior officials in the money laundering case-- Raghunathan and former United Breweries Chief Financial Officer Ravi Nedungadi along with a few other accused.

PTI

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