A special court here has confirmed the Enforcement Directorate order to attach Rs 4,200 crore assets of liquor baron Vijay Mallya and others, paving the way for their confiscation by the agency. In September last year, the ED had issued the order, under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), to attach the various properties including flats, a farmhouse, shares and Fixed Deposits (FD) among others in the name of Mallya and associated firms.
The central probe agency had earlier said that the market value of these assets was Rs 6,630 crore where as the book value remains to be 4,234.84 crore. Calling the assets to be “involved in money laundering”, a recent order of Member (Law) of the Adjudicating Authority of PMLA, Tushar V Shah said: “I, therefore, hereby confirm the attachment of the properties made under sub-section (1) of Section 5 of PMLA.
“I, therefore, order that the said attachment shall continue during the pendency of the proceedings relating to offence under the PMLA…,” it said. The ED will now move to confiscate these assets.
The agency had alleged these assets were the “proceeds generated out of criminal activity” of the alleged default of bank loans.
It claimed that Mallya “criminally conspired” with the Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) and the United Breweries Holdings Limited (UBHL) to obtain funds through the consortium of banks and out of this total amount, the principal fund of Rs4,930.34 crore “still remains unpaid.”
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“In addition, huge number of shares were also being held in the name of various other group companies controlled directly or indirectly by Mallya. Hence, it appeared that even though sufficient funds were available with the promoters of KFA–Mallya and UBHL– they had no intention to make payment towards the bank loans taken from the consortium of banks.
“They deliberately and intentionally kept the huge number of shares, approximately worth Rs 3,600 crore, pledged with UTI Investment Advisory Services Ltd and other financial institutions without substantial underlying liabilities, and thus kept the consortium in dark,” the ED had said in its order.
An attachment order issued by the ED under PMLA is aimed to deprive the accused from taking benefits of his or her ill- gotten wealth and it can be challenged before the said PMLA Authority within 180 days.