The Ethics Committee of the Rajya Sabha has taken cognizance of the issue of Vijay Mallya, an Independent member of the upper house and business tycoon accused of defaulting on bank loans totalling Rs.9,000 crore.
Without spelling out the course of action, committee chairman Karan Singh told reporters that more meetings of the panel will be held to discuss the issue.
“The ethics committee meeting was fixed over some other issues. This morning, we got a file from Rajya Sabha Chairman (M. Hamid Ansari). There were two other issues, but we looked into this issue as well. We have taken cognizance,” he said.
The Congress leader said more meetings of the committee will be held before a decision on the matter, but refused to speak on the likely course of action.
“We will proceed as per the rules,” he said.
Mallya, elected to the upper house from Karnataka, is set to retire on June 30.
A consortium of 17 banks led by the State Bank of India had sought the Supreme Court’s intervention to restrain the business tycoon from leaving the country, his arrest and impounding of his passport.
The court was, however, informed that Mallya had left India on March 2.
Meanwhile, upping the ante on the issue, the Congress asked the government to act against the public officials and politicians who helped the businessman flee from India.
“We request Modi government to rise above rhetoric and face the reality. Prime minister must concentrate on deportation of Vijay Mallya and ensure that 9,091 crore rupees are recovered. It is not important which party the politicians who helped him belong to. Whoever they are, the government must take action against them,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said while talking to reporters outside Parliament.
The party also alleged that “Mallya has run away in accordance to ‘Fair & Lovely Scheme’ of Modi government”, a jibe that Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi took on the government’s budget provision for black money holders to escape punishment.
“He is now a double NRI, first he was ‘Non Repaying Indian’ and second he is ‘Non Returning Indian’. Instead of fulfilling the promise of bringing back black money, Modi government’s record in last 22 months is that, two persons have escaped — one Mr Lalit Modi and Mr Mallya — to foreign shores under their very nose and with active or tacit complicity and abetment,” Surjewala said.
He alleged that people in government have facilitated the two businessmen in fleeing the country.
“Shri Mallya was present in Parliament on 1st March, 2016 where he reportedly met FM Shri Jaitley, and had a conversation with him. We all know what happened then, while CBI, Banks, SFIOs, SEBI, IT, Service Tax, etc were looking for him, he left on 2nd of March,” Surjewala added.
He also stressed that the government must share with Parliament the conversation that transpired between the finance minister and Mallya.
“Shri Mallya met FM before he left, admittedly he also spoke to union finance secretary. Did FM inform honourable PM about the conversation that took place in the meetings, will the government share it with Parliament and the people of India as to what was the nature of meeting and conversation that transpired between FM and Shri Mallya,” asked Surjewala.
He also asked the central government about the steps being taken by it to recover the public money.
“Will government seek deportation of Shri Mallya from UK (Britain) by exerting pressure in order to recover Rs.9,091 crore of public money or will this case also be sent to the layers of statutory extradition, which wouldn’t fructify for years together as in case of Mr. Lalit Modi,” Surjewala said.
The Congress reaction came after the Indian courts issued non-bailable warrant against the businessmen for not repaying the loans he had taken from commercial banks. (IANS)