Tycoon Mallya's Passport Revoked as India Pushes for His Returnby
Foreign ministry had suspended passport earlier in April
Court in Mumbai ordered non-bailable arrest warrant last week
India’s foreign ministry has canceled Vijay Mallya’s passport in a bid to force the tycoon and founder of failed Kingfisher Airlines Ltd. to return to the country and pay off loans the government estimates at $1.4 billion.
A message on ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup’s official Twitter account Sunday said the decision had been taken after considering Mallya’s replies to a show cause notice, facts brought by India’s Enforcement Directorate, and an arrest warrant issued by a Mumbai court on April 18.
Sumanto Bhattacharya, a spokesman for Mallya and his UB Group, didn’t immediately comment. In a filing through his lawyers last week, Mallya said he isn’t a wilful defaulter and the collapse of Kingfisher Airlines in 2012 was a genuine commercial failure. He also offered to pay $240 million to show his intent to repay debt.
The foreign ministry suspended Mallya’s passport earlier this month, a few weeks after the Attorney General said he had left India. The tycoon said earlier this year he planned to spend more time in England. He has a diplomatic passport because he is a member of the upper house of India’s parliament.
The foreign ministry on April 22 said it was seeking legal advice on Mallya’s extradition.