Vijay Mallya has responded to the third summons notice sent by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), seeking an extension until the end of May to reply to it, reported NDTV. The ED had set a deadline of April 9.
The law enforcement agency is investigating a money laundering charge against the liquor baron who's accused of siphoning a portion of his loan amount to foreign shores for purposes beyond the loan terms.
Officials privy to the matter said Mallya had informed the investigating officer (IO) in Mumbai about his inability to depose in person because of the ongoing proceedings against him in the Supreme Court. He also said that a settlement on the same is being worked out by his legal and corporate teams, which might take some more time. However, he has suggested that his legal counsels will help the ED in facilitating the probe.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court division bench Thursday asked him to deposit a substantial amount to prove his bona fides along with his settlement plan. It also directed him to disclose his assets as well as the assets owned by his wife and children by April 21.
This is the second extension Mallya had requested in two weeks, and he constantly excusing himself from deposition will be taken up by the ED for a considered approach Monday, said the news channel. A legal action might be in store as summons can be issued a maximum of three times under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), an ED source told NDTV.
The consortium of 17 lender-banks led by the State Bank of India (SBI) had approached the court to get Mallya's passport impounded and bar him from leaving Indian shores. They accused him of defaulting on loans to the tune of Rs. 7,000 crore with regard to Kingfisher Airlines alone. His other concerns owe another Rs. 2,000 crore to the banks.
Mallya has also been asked to notify when he will be able to appear in court and the next hearing is scheduled for April 26.