UK Court Permits Seizure of Vijay Mallya’s Assets
A UK enforcement officer "may use reasonable force to enter the property if necessary," according to an order passed by Justice Bryan at the Queen’s bench division of the Commercial Court in London.
A significant amount can be expected to be gathered through the sale of Vijay Mallya’s London assets, State Bank of India Managing Director Arijit Basu said on July 6, a day after a court in the United Kingdom granted permission to authorities to search the Indian businessman’s home at Hertfordshire and seize his assets. SBI is working closely with counsels in London to ensure that the money is recovered, Basu said, the Financial Express reported.
A UK enforcement officer “may use reasonable force to enter the property if necessary,” according to an order passed by Justice Bryan at the Queen’s bench division of the Commercial Court in London, the Hindu reported. The High Court Enforcement Officer or other enforcement agents acting through their authority may enter Mallya’s residence at Ladywalk, and Bramble Lodge in Tewin, Welwyn, and take control of his assets, the report cited the order as saying.
“The High Court Enforcement Officer, including any enforcement agents acting under his authority, may enter Ladywalk, Queen Hoo Lane, Tewin, Welwyn and Bramble Lodge, Queen Hoo Lane, Tewin, Welwyn, including all outbuildings of Ladywalk and Bramble Lodge to search for and take control of goods belonging to the First Defendant (Mallya),” the June 26 order by Justice Byran said, the Times of India reported.
The court order comes in connection with the case filed by a consortium of 13 Indian banks, including the State Bank of India (SBI) against Mallya, who is facing money-laundering charges in India.
“We are looking at recovering our entire debt from Vijay Mallya. The UK (United Kingdom) court enforcement order is a world-wide freeze order,” Basu told CNBC TV18 in an interview.
India is seeking extradition of the liquor tycoon from the United Kingdom over accusations of fraud and unpaid loans worth about Rs 9,000 crore that his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines owes to the Indian banks. Mallya fled to the United Kingdom in March 2016, soon after investigations against him in India gathered momentum. India’s case seeking his extradition is scheduled to come up for hearing in a UK court on July 31.
A UK High Court last month ordered Mallya to pay a minimum amount of £200,000 towards costs that have been incurred by 13 Indian banks in their legal bid to recover their alleged dues, PTI had reported at the time.
The 62-year-old businessman may be declared a “fugitive economic offender” in India, even as the Enforcement Directorate seeks to attach his assets worth Rs 12,500 crore in the country. Mallya has denied the charges of fraud, and offered to clear his dues by selling his assets last week. Any objections to his efforts to sell his assets by Indian authorities will “clearly demonstrate that there is an agenda against me beyond recovery of dues to Public Sector Banks,” Mallya said in a statement, adding, “I have become the ‘Poster Boy’ of bank default and a lightning rod of public anger.”