ED summons Mallya, grills KFA ex-official

ED summons Mallya, grills KFA ex-official

ED summons Mallya, grills KFA ex-official
Pressure mounted on beleaguered businessman Vijay Mallya on Friday with the Enforcement Directorate (ED) summoning him for questioning in Mumbai on March 18 in a money laundering case.

He tweeted he was not an absconder and did not flee India. The 60-year-old liquor baron, who is reportedly in the United Kingdom since March 2, is now at the centre of an escalating political war with NDA ally Shiv Sena targeting the BJP-led government on how it allowed Mallya to go abroad. Parliament also witnessed the issue being raised once again.

The ED summons came as investigators went deep into the money laundering case it registered against Mallya and others in connection with the Rs 900-crore loan given by IDBI bank. Mallya has been asked to appear before investigators in ED's Mumbai office next Friday along with details related to his personal finances. Sources said the process of serving notice to Mallya through the Indian High Commission in London was still on.

A Raghunathan, former Chief Financial Officer of Mallya’s grounded carrier Kingfisher Airlines (KFA), appeared before investigators in Mumbai on Friday. Officials said his questioning was important as he could provide details on various transactions.

Facing public and political wrath for leaving the country under suspicious circumstances, Mallya  broke his silence during the day. In his first public comments, Mallya said he is an MP, who “fully respects and will comply” with the law. “Our judicial system is sound and respected. But no trial by media,” he tweeted.

“I am an international businessman. I travel to and from India frequently. I did not flee from India and neither am I an absconder. Rubbish,” he said. Mallya is facing legal proceedings for loan defaults to the tune of Rs 9,091.40 crore.  He also targeted the media saying, “once a media witch-hunt starts it escalates into a raging fire where truth and facts are burnt to ashes.”

Without naming journalists, he said, "Let media bosses not forget help, favours, accommodation that I have provided over several years which are documented. Now lies to gain TRP?"

Questioning news reports that he must declare his assets, he said, "Does that mean that banks did not know my assets or look at my Parliamentary disclosures?"

In reference to a particular editor, he said that he needed to be in "prison clothes and eat prison food for libel, deceit, slander and absolutely sensational lies". The Mallya issue was once again raised in Rajya Sabha with Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad asking the government why the CBI amended its 'lookout' notice against him within a month last year.

Azad said the CBI had amended the lookout notice against Mallya issued in October 2015 which had sought his detention if he tried to leave India. However, in November, this order was changed to merely "inform" the authorities in case he left the country. "What made the CBI change its original notice?" he asked.


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