Embattled liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya has resigned as a member of the country’s upper house of Parliament, several television news channels reported on Monday.
Mallya, 60, flew first class from Delhi to London on March 2 at a time when the Indian government and mainly state-controlled banks are trying to recover $1.4 billion owed by his collapsed Kingfisher Airlines Ltd.
The government wrote to its British counterpart on Thursday seeking the deportation of the Formula 1 motor racing boss, who is the target of a non-bailable warrant in a money laundering investigation.
India has already revoked the diplomatic passport that Mallya carried as a member of the upper house.
Mallya also thanked the Rajya Sabha Chairman and his “colleagues in the House for all the cooperation” that he received during his two terms.
He said he received a letter from panel Chairman Karan Singh dated April 25 in which it was stated that the Rajya Sabha Chairman had referred an issue to the Committee on Ethics regarding “purported default” by Mallya in the “repayment of bank loans”, which have “not been reflected” in his declaration of assets and liabilities.
Mallya said the letter further stated that in a meeting “purportedly held” on May 25, the Committee on Ethics unanimously felt that he should be expelled from the Rajya Sabha.
Appending a copy of his reply to Karan Singh, Mallya, who faxed his resignation to the Rajya Sabha Chairman, asserted, “The allegations against me are blatantly false and baseless.”
“I am shocked that the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, Government of India has provided factually wrong information to a Parliament Committee,” he added.
“Nevertheless since I do not want my name and reputation to be further dragged in the mud and since recent events suggest that I will not get a fair trial or justice, I am hereby resigning as a member of the Rajya Sabha with immediate effect,” Mallya said.
In the panel meeting, JD-U President Sharad Yadav had strongly pitched for immediate recommendation for Mallya’s expulsion. However, some other members felt procedures had to be followed and he should be given time to explain his conduct.
The committee had sought details of the liabilities on Mallya’s airline Kingfisher from 13 banks, which furnished their replies according to which the total liability on Mallya’s company is Rs 9431.65 crore. Of this IDBI’s liability alone is Rs 1687.04 crore followed by Punjab National Bank’s Rs 1223 crore.
The committee decided to crack the whip on the ground that Mallya never declared these liabilities in the past 10 years, which a member is supposed to do annually.
Enforcement directorate had a fortnight ago written to 17 banks and a clutch of probe agencies with an aim to prepare a water-tight case against Mallya who is being probed for money laundering charges in the IDBI bank alleged loan fraud case.
“We examined the entire issue related to Mallya’s case. The documents that we had sought from banks have also come. There was a unanimous view in the panel that he should be expelled from the House membership.
“But still we have decided to give him a week time to tell us whatever he has to say. The next meeting of the committee has been fixed on May 3, when we will take a final decision,” panel Chairman Karna Singh had said after the Ethics Committee meeting on April 25.
According to rules, a member who intends to quit from the Rajya Sabha has to intimate this in own writing addressed to the Chairman, his intention to resign his seat in the Council.
If a member hands over the letter of resignation to the Chairman personally and informs him that the resignation is voluntary and genuine and the Chairman has no information or knowledge to the contrary, the Chairman may accept the resignation immediately.
If the Chairman receives the letter of resignation either by post or through some other person, the Chairman may make such inquiry as he thinks fit, to satisfy himself that the resignation is voluntary and genuine.
If the Chairman, after making a summary enquiry either himself or through the agency of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat or through such other agency as he may deem fit, is satisfied that the resignation is not voluntary or genuine, he shall not accept the resignation.
A member may withdraw his letter of resignation at any time before it is accepted by the Chairman.
The Chairman shall, as soon as may be, after he has accepted the resignation of a member, inform the Council that the member has resigned his seat in the Council and he has accepted the resignation.
When the Council is not in session, the Chairman shall inform the Council immediately after the Council re-assembles.
The Secretary-General shall, as soon as may be, after the Chairman has accepted the resignation of a Member, cause the information to be published in the Bulletin and the Gazette and forward ‘a copy of the notification to the Election Commission for taking steps to fill the vacancy thus caused provided that where the resignation is to take effect from a future date, the information shall be published in the Bulletin and the Gazette not earlier than the date from which it is to take effect.