PMLA) court order declaring former liquor baron
Vijay Mallya a
fugitive economic offender (FEO), the Enforcement Directorate (
ED) has kicked off the process of compiling a list of immovable property estimated at Rs 1,200 crore and shares worth Rs 11,000 crore for confiscation.
The ED will also file a supplementary application for confiscation of Mallya’s properties outside India, said top officials close to the development. Senior government officials said benami and proxy assets held by Mallya have already been attached and the value of the assets is being collated.
Mallya’s lawyers are expected to challenge the order, lawyers said.
Central Govt to Manage Properties
“The value of the assets is far more than the amount owed by Mallya to the banks. He has reiterated multiple times that he is willing to pay the debt. The regulators are singing to a political tune,” a top lawyer close to Mallya told ET.
The PMLA order will hurt Mallya’s chances of challenging his extradition in a higher UK court, a top lawyer said. The list includes properties in Mumbai, Bengaluru, New Delhi and Vellore in Tamil Nadu. Among them are the 3.09-lakh sq ft UB City property that was considered to be worth about Rs 713 crore, but now has been estimated to be above Rs 1,000 crore by the ED officials, and Kingfisher Tower flats estimated at Rs 1,000 crore in Bengaluru. The value of Mallya’s holdings in multiple companies including pledged and un-pledged equity in United Breweries Ltd, United Spirits Ltd, McDowell Holdings and several other companies are being assessed. “Most of these have been attached although there are multiple claimants in the application made to the court,” said a lawyer close to the case.
FIRST ONE TO GET FEO TAG
Zulfikar Memon, managing partner of MZM Legal, said the court has reserved its order on the confiscation for February 5. “It is on that day the order will be pronounced regarding the confiscation. All concerned persons who may be related to those properties, which the ED feels are proceeds of crime, have been made party to this application by the agency and if the court chooses to pass the order for confiscation, it will mean that the central government will take charge of the properties and manage the same under provisions of Rule 4 of the Act which explains confiscation,” he said.
Mallya has become the first businessman to be declared an FEO under the provisions of the new Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, which came into existence in August last year. “The properties will remain in the custody of the government of India and they will manage it,” said Memon.
A fugitive economic offender is a person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued for committing a scheduled offence and who has left India to avoid criminal prosecution, or being abroad, refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution. The Westminster Magistrates Court in London had on December 10 said that Mallya, who is facing charges of loan default to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore, could be extradited to India. Mallya left India in 2016, following which the Indian government initiated extradition proceedings against him. The ED and the CBI have filed several cases over the loan defaults against him.