India

Vijay Mallya: India tycoon resigns from parliament

This file photograph taken on August 7, 2013 shows Vijay Mallya, Member of Parliament and then Chairman of the United Breweries Group, as he arrives at Parliament House in New Delhi. India"s foreign ministry said April 28, 2016 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Mallya, who was a member of the parliament, has denied any wrongdoing

Indian business tycoon Vijay Mallya, who is facing an investigation into money laundering, has resigned his parliamentary seat.

Mr Mallya, who is said to have debts of about $1bn (£600m), left India in March and is believed to be in the UK.

Last month, authorities in India revoked Mr Mallya's diplomatic passport and asked the UK to deport him after a court issued a warrant for his arrest.

He has denied any wrongdoing and said he is being subject to a "witch hunt".

A spokesman for Mr Mallya told the AFP news agency that "he has resigned from Rajya Sabha (upper house) of the Indian parliament".

The resignation comes a week after the ethics committee of the Rajya Sabha asked the businessman to explain his conduct, after which it decided to recommend his expulsion over huge bank debts.

It is alleged Mr Mallya repeatedly failed to appear before investigators looking into financial irregularities at Kingfisher Airlines, which collapsed in 2013.

Mr Mallya said on Twitter in March that he was an international businessman who had to travel and denied that he was "fleeing" from India.

He said he was the victim of a "media witch hunt".

The flamboyant businessman made his fortune selling beer under the Kingfisher brand and branched out into aviation, Formula 1 racing, and Indian cricket.

His debts were incurred by the failure of his airline and he is being pursued by a group of mainly state-run banks who lent him money.

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