The government on Friday suspended the diplomatic passport of liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who is facing an Enforcement Directorate probe on charges of misappropriating a Rs 9,000 crore bank loan.
The external affairs ministry said in a statement that the diplomatic passport of Mallya, who is now in Britain, has been suspended for four weeks with immediate effect.
The ministry also said if the business tycoon failed to respond to the notice within one week, his passport would be impounded.
"On the advise of the Enforcement Directorate, the passport issuing authority in the Ministry of External Affairs has today suspended the validity of Mr. Vijay Mallya’s diplomatic passport with immediate effect," the spokesman said in a statement.
Suspending the passport "under Section 10 A of the Passports Act 1967", the ministry said Mallya has been asked to respond within one week as to why his passport should not be impounded or revoked under Section 10(3)(c) of the Passports Act.
"If he fails to respond within the stipulated time, it will be assumed that he has no response to offer and the MEA will go ahead with the revocation," the statement said.
The Supreme Court on April 7 directed the liquor baron to disclose all his assets -- movable and immovable and tangible and intangible—and other shareholding and beneficial interests in India and abroad by April 21.
An apex court bench of Justice Kurien Joseph and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman asked Mallya to disclose all the assets held by his wife and children also and indicate the date when he can appear before it in person.
"Senior counsel (C.S. Vaidyanathan, appearing for Mallya) would take specific instructions on probable date of appearance (of Mallya) in person before the court," the court said.
Prior to that on March 30, Mallya's counsel told the Supreme Court that he has offered to pay Rs.4,000 crore to settle outstanding dues against the grounded Kingfisher Airlines on account of loans extended by a consortium of 13 banks headed by the SBI.
The apex court bench of Justice Kurien Joseph and Justice Rohinton F. Nariman was also told that Mallya has offered another Rs.2,000 crore that he expects to get if he wins his suit against multinational General Electric.