NEW DELHI, March 11 - Vijay Mallya was today summoned to appear before the ED on March 18 even as the beleaguered businessman asserted he is not an absconder amid an escalating political row over how he was able to go abroad unhindered with NDA ally Shiv Sena also targeting the government.
As the BJP and Congress traded charges, the controversial departure of Mallya, 60, in the middle of a massive loan default probe rocked Rajya Sabha for the second day with Congress leader and Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad asking the government why did the CBI amend its �lookout� notice against the liquor baron within a month last year.
Taking forward its money laundering probe in the alleged default in payment of Rs 900 crore dues to IDBI Bank by the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) issued summons to Mallya for appearance in Mumbai on a day when A Raghunathan, a former Chief Financial Officer of the carrier, appeared before at investigators at its Mumbai office.
�The summons have been issued to Mallya under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in connection with the IDBI case,� official sources said.
The sources said Mallya has also been asked to furnish documents related to his personal finances.
�We had summoned Raghunathan and he appeared before us for questioning this morning. His questioning is important to throw light on various financial transactions, as many of them are in his personal domain,� an ED official said.
With his departure from India on March 2 kicking up a row, Mallya, who is facing legal proceedings for alleged loan defaults by his group to the tune of over Rs 9,000 crore, said he will comply with the law of the land.
�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,� Mallya, who is believed to be in the UK, tweeted from an undisclosed location. � PTI