A special court in Mumbai on Thursday rejected businessman Vijay Mallya’s plea seeking a stay on the Enforcement Directorate’s application to declare him a fugitive economic offender, IANS reported. It will continue hearing the Enforcement Directorate’s plea to confiscate Mallya’s property on Friday.
The special court’s ruling came a week after the Bombay High Court rejected a similar plea. On June 22, the Enforcement Directorate had moved the special court hearing cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act to declare Mallya a fugitive economic offender and confiscate all his properties, estimated at around Rs 12,000 crore.
Mallya’s lawyer, Amit Desai, said the businessman is willing to sign a consent term with the government for the payment of his dues, reported The Hindu. Desai argued that confiscating Mallya’s properties will not help the authorities as it would end up in the consolidated funds of the government, and no one would have a claim over them, Hindustan Times reported.
DP Singh, appearing for the Enforcement Directorate, said that the government only acts as an administrator of the assets. Singh also told the court that Mallya, who currently lives in London, has not appeared in court so far or submitted any undertaking indicating that he will join the process of law in India.
Desai said the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act does not apply to Mallya. “My client would have been eligible had he fled the country after the Act had been passed and proceedings initiated under it,” he said. “Applying it retrospectively is not fair.”
Mallya is accused of cheating banks of Rs 9,000 crore and is fighting a number of lawsuits in the United Kingdom and India related to fraud and money laundering allegations. India is also attempting to have him extradited him from the UK.