New Delhi: Acting swiftly on the Enforcement Directorate's demand, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday suspended the diplomatic passport of liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who failed to appear before the investigating authority under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), which is "tantamount to wilful non-compliance to legal process".
Besides suspending his passport under Section 10[A] of the Passport Act, the MEA has also issued a show-cause notice to the UB Group chairman, seeking his explanation as to why his passport should not be revoked under Section 10  of the Passport Act.
The MEA action against Mallya came in the wake of his repeated failure to appear before the ED, which accused Mallya of deliberately avoiding his personal appearance despite statutory requirement before the Investigating Authority in defiance of the due procedure established by law in this case.
Presently, several aspects of irregularities/criminal misconduct allegedly committed by Mallya, including his role in the offence of money laundering under the Act has come to surface, and are under investigation by multiple agencies. Thus, his failure to appear before the investigating authority under PMLA is tantamount to wilful non-compliance to legal process.
It is further apparent that the present course adopted by Mallya is intended to deliberately scuttle the process of investigation. The ED, therefore, moved the Ministry of External Affairs on April 13, seeking revocation of Mallya's passport, who is wanted by the law enforcing agencies for a default of over Rs 9, 000 crores.
The Enforcement Directorate had earlier issued summons to Mallya for "personal appearance" on March 18 under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Following Mallya's request seeking extension, the Enforcement Directorate issued a fresh summons to the liquor baron, asking him to appear before it on April 2 in the money laundering case.
Mallya claimed that the banks gave him loans after evaluating all aspects and asserted that he is not trying to evade the law enforcement agencies.
Mallya is understood to have taken shelter in the United Kingdom on a diplomatic passport.