New Delhi: The Bombay High Court on Thursday dismissed a plea filed by beleaguered businessman Vijay Mallya seeking a stay on a request made by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to declare him a fugitive economic offender and confiscate his properties. Also Read - 28-Day Countdown: Fall of Vijay Mallya in This Decorated CBI Officer's Hands
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. Also Read - Vijay Mallya Urges Govt To Take His Money & Close His Case, Twitter Says 'Pay Your Employees First'
News agency ANI tweeted, “Bombay HC dismisses Vijay Mallya’s appeal where he pleaded for stay on proceedings under Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, on the pretext that Appellate Tribunal for Foreign Exchange had ordered status quo in r/o attachments in PMLA case against him while adjudicating SBI’s plea.” Also Read - Palghar Lynching Case: PIL in Bombay HC Seeks Probe by CBI or Court-monitored SIT
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.
Mallya had filed an application in the lower court seeking a stay on the hearing on the ED’s plea till November 26 when the appellate tribunal functioning under the PMLA would hear matters filed by a consortium of banks seeking their dues back.
The special court had on October 30 rejected Mallya’s application, following which the liquor baron had approached the high court.
Mallya’s counsel Amit Desai on Thursday 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.
“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 62-year-old liquor baron, who fled India on March 2, 2016, has been living in London since then despite summons from Indian courts and law enforcement agencies to appear before them for trial in various related cases.