The Bombay High Court Thursday dismissed a plea filed by embattled businessman Vijay Mallya seeking a stay on proceedings by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to declare him a fugitive economic offender and confiscate his property, PTI reported.
Mallya’s counsel Amit Desai told a division bench of Justices R M Savant and V K Jadhav that his pleas should not be misunderstood as a ploy to run away from the proceedings.
On Friday, the absconding businessman had sought a stay on a special court hearing an application by the ED to declare him a fugitive economic offender so that his properties could be confiscated. Read | Vijay Mallya seeks stay on hearing of ED petition to declare him fugitive economic offender
Representing Mallya, Desai said that status quo with regard to the properties has to be maintained till the next hearing on November 26. “We are also anxious to clear the dues and to see to it that the creditors get their dues back. We only do not want the properties to be seized by the Enforcement Directorate, which would then hamper the process of clearance of dues,” Desai said.
The high court, however, said it was not inclined to grant any relief. “The application has been filed at the threshold and at a very premature stage when the lower court is still hearing the prosecuting agency’s request to declare him (Mallya) a fugitive economic offender,” the court said in its order.
The bench, while dismissing the plea filed by Mallya, said the lower court shall hear the application filed by the ED on merits.
The ED had filed an application before a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court seeking the ‘fugitive’ tag for Mallya under the Fugitive Economic Offenders’ Act, 2018. Under the provisions of the Act, once a person is declared a fugitive economic offender, then the prosecuting agency has the powers to confiscate the accused persons’ properties.
The special court had on October 30 rejected Mallya’s application, following which the liquor baron had approached the high court.
(Inputs from PTI)