FERA violation: Court orders attachment of Mallya's properties in Bengaluru
A Delhi court Thursday ordered attachment of liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s properties in Bengaluru in a case relating to FERA violations. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Deepak Sherawat issued fresh directions after Bengaluru police, through Enforcement Directorate (ED), sought more time to execute its earlier order. Special public prosecutor N K Matta and advocate Samvedna Verma, representing the ED, told the court that the process to attach the properties was on and due to lack of sufficient time, could not be completed on time.
Mallya has been declared a proclaimed offender by the court on January 4 for evading its summons in the case. “It is submitted that the process of attaching the properties of Vijay Mallya is being continued by the revenue authorities. Due to lack of sufficient time to execute the attachment of warrant, the same could not be executed on time. “In order to execute the same, some more reasonable time is required. Therefore, it is respectfully submitted that this court may kindly be pleased to grant some more time to execute the warrant of attachment,” the ED said. Bengaluru police had in July informed the court that it has identified 159 properties belonging to Mallya for attachment.
However, it was unable to attach the properties as some of these had already been attached by the ED of Mumbai Zone and remaining assets were part of the liquidation proceedings. The ED had told the court that it was identifying other properties of Mallya. The court had earlier declared Mallya a proclaimed offender for evading summons in a FERA violation case after noting that he had failed to appear despite repeated summonses.
It had on April 12 last year issued an open-ended non-bailable warrant against the liquor baron. Unlike a non-bailable warrant, an ‘open-ended NBW’ does not carry a time limit for execution. The anti-money laundering agency had issued summons to the businessman in connection with the alleged payment of USD 200,000 to a British firm for displaying Kingfisher logo during the Formula One World Championships in London and some European countries in 1996, 1997 and 1998. It had claimed that the money was allegedly paid without prior approval of the RBI in violation of Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) norms.
According to the ED, Mallya was summoned on four occasions for questioning in connection with the contract signed in December 1995 with London-based firm Benetton Formula Ltd for the promotion of the Kingfisher brand abroad. When Mallya failed to appear before the ED in response to the summons, a complaint was filed on March 8, 2000, before a court here and later charges were framed against him under the FERA Act.
Mallya, who had fled to the UK in March 2016, is also wanted in India for Kingfisher Airlines’ default on loans worth nearly Rs 9,000 crore and some other matters.