A UK High Court judge has issued an enforcement order in favour of a consortium of 13 Indian banks, seeking to recover funds owed to them by beleaguered liquor baron Vijay Mallya who is fighting extradition to India on fraud and money laundering charges worth nearly Rs 9,000 crore.
The order grants permission to the UK high court to enter the 62-year-old tycoon’s properties in Hertfordshire, near London.
“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),” notes the order by Justice Byran, dated June 26 it states.
It permits the officer and his agent’s entry to Ladywalk and Bramble Lodge in Tewin, Welwyn, where Mallya is currently based. However, it is not an instruction to enter, which means the banks have the option to use the order as one of the means to recover estimated funds of around 1.145 billion pounds.
Mallya has made an application in the Court of Appeal seeking permission to appeal against the order, which remains pending.
While the CPS claims it has successfully established a prima facie case of fraud against the businessman, Mallya’s lawyers have sought to establish that the criminal charges against him are “without substance”. They have also challenged the case on human rights grounds, questioning the conditions at Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai, where the businessman is to be held post-extradition.
It is not an instruction to enter, which means banks have the option to use the order as a means to recover the funds. This can be a sign of little relief for the Indian banks who have been stressed due to past situations in Mallya’s case.