The Bombay High Court Thursday dismissed liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s plea seeking a stay on confiscation of his property by government agencies in connection with the ongoing cases of loan repayment and money laundering against him.
Mallya, in his plea, had sought that any order passed by the trial court on the confiscation of his property be subject to the final decision of the High Court that is hearing the FEO case against him. The bench, however, refused to grant any interim relief on the petition.
A special court here had in January declared Mallya a fugitive economic offender (FEO) under provisions of the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act. Later, Mallya approached the high court, challenging the provisions of the act that permit, among other things, confiscation of assets and placing them under the control of the Union government. Mallya had told high court that by declaring him a fugitive economic offender and allowing attachment of his assets, a special court had awarded him an “economic death penalty”.
He also filed another petition challenging the special court order that declared him an FEO which was being heard by another division bench of the high court.
Mallya’s counsel argued that the FEO Act was “draconian” as it allowed the Centre to confiscate everything, irrespective of whether a property was bought from the proceeds of a crime or not. Mallya’s plea was opposed by the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) counsel D P Singh, who argued that the Act was not draconian at all.
Mallya remains on bail on an extradition warrant executed by Scotland Yard in April 2017, involving a bail bond worth 650,000 pounds and other restrictions on his travel. However, the UK High Court Tuesday permitted Vijay Mallya to appeal against his extradition order signed off by home secretary on at least one of five grounds. Following the extradition order, Mallya claimed that he was a victim of a witch-hunt based on a false case.
The 62-year-old, owner of the defunct Kingfisher Airlines, is wanted for wilful default of over Rs 9,000 crore loan from Indian banks. He is facing charges of fraud, money laundering and violation of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) in India.