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New Delhi
Monday 6 July 2020

UK court grants permission to search Mallya’s estate near London

It permits the officer and his agents' entry to Ladywalk and Bramble Lodge in Tewin, Welwyn, where Mallya is currently based

London: In a major setback to fugitive economic offender Vijay Mallya, the UK court has ruled in favour of a consortium of 13 Indian banks by granting permission to enter his sprawling estate near London and seize his possessions.
A UK High Court judge has issued an enforcement order in favour of a consortium of 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.

 

It permits the officer and his agents’ 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.

“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.

The order relates to the UK’s Tribunal Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 and follows a UK High Court ruling in May, which refused to overturn a worldwide order freezing Mallya’s assets and upheld an Indian court’s ruling that the Indian banks were entitled to recover funds. It marked the first recorded case of a judgment of the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) in India being registered by the English High Court, setting a legal precedent.

The victory for the 13 Indian banks which include State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Corporation Bank, Federal Bank Ltd, IDBI Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Jammu & Kashmir Bank, Punjab & Sind Bank, Punjab National Bank, State Bank of Mysore, UCO Bank, United Bank of India and JM Financial Asset Reconstruction Co. Pvt Ltd enables them to enforce the Indian judgment against Mallya’s assets in England and Wales.

Mallya has made an application in the Court of Appeal seeking permission to appeal against the order, which remains pending.

Mallya, who is separately fighting extradition to India on fraud and money laundering charges worth an estimated Rs 9,000 crores, had recently issued a media statement condemning the charges against him as politically motivated.

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