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UK court opens Mallya’s home for search & seizure

Vidya Ram London | Updated on July 11, 2018

Vijay Mallya broke his long silence recently to slam the “politically motivated” and “blatantly false” allegations made against him

Order relates to case filed by SBI, others

The high court enforcement officer or agents acting on the officer’s authority may enter Ladywalk, Vijay Mallya’s country residence, to search and take control of goods belonging to him, according to a court order from London’s Commercial Court last month.

The order relates to the case against Mallya brought by the State Bank of India and 12 other banks seeking the recovery of debts through the London courts.

It enables the high court enforcement officer or enforcement agents acting on his authority to enter Ladywalk, Bramble Lodge and outbuildings of both properties in Tewin, in the English county of Hertfordshire.

The agents “may use reasonable force to enter the property if necessary,” says the June 26 order by Justice Bryan at the Queen’s Bench division of the Commercial Court in London.

An option for enforcers

While not an instruction to act, the order grants requisite permissions, should they be required, as the banks consider the enforcement options available to them.

The move comes after a separate order required Mallya to pay the banks £200,000 (₹1.8 crore) by June 5 this year towards the costs of the legal case being pursued against him, after Mallya attempted to get the registration of a ruling by India’s Debt Recovery Tribunal in the UK and a worldwide freezing of international assets thrown out. He is currently seeking permission to appeal the case.

The case awaits a judicial decision on the papers.

The banks’ case is being pursued independently of Indian authorities’ efforts to extradite him to face charges relating to fraud and money laundering.

A final hearing in the case, when both sides will put forward their closing remarks, has been delayed from the middle of July to July 31.

While the extradition efforts focus specifically on an alleged fraud centring around loans provided by IDBI Bank, the debt-recovery and asset freezing efforts are being pursued by 13 banks, led by SBI.

The other banks are Bank of Baroda, Corporation Bank, Federal Bank, IDBI Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Jammu & Kashmir Bank, Punjab and Sind Bank, Punjab National Bank, State Bank of Mysore, UCO Bank, United Bank of India and JM Financial Asset Reconstruction.

In an unusual move in late June, Mallya broke his long silence to slam the “politically motivated” case and “blatantly false” allegations made against him, highlighting an application made through Karnataka’s High Cort to sell ₹13,900 crore of assets to repay creditors, including the banks.

Any attempt to block this effort would highlight the “agenda” being pursued against him beyond the recovery of dues to the banks, he had said.

Published on July 05, 2018

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