Fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya on Monday told the Bombay High Court that confiscation of his properties under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act is draconian, and will not help his creditors, PTI reported. Mallya, who owes Indian banks over Rs 9,000 crore, fled to the United Kingdom in 2016.
Mallya’s counsel Amit Desai told a division bench of Justices IA Mahanty and AM Badar the move was draconian. “The need of the hour is to deal with the banks and creditors,” he said. “Mallya does not want the properties to be returned to him. We are only saying that confiscation by the government is not going to solve the problems of the banks and creditors.”
The Enforcement Directorate opposed the petition. The investigation agency said that the objective of the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act is to bring back a person who has evaded arrest in India. “The moment Mallya returns to India, the provisions of this Act and the process initiated under it shall become null and void,” the agency said.
The Enforcement Directorate’s plea before the special court to begin confiscation proceedings is scheduled for April 8. Mallya’s petition has been posted for further hearing on April 24.
Mallya, who is facing an extradition trial in the United Kingdom, had claimed on Sunday that it suits the Bharatiya Janata Party to say that he fled the country. “Saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s interview in which he takes my name and says that even though I owe Rs 9,000 crore to banks, his government has attached my assets worth Rs 14,000 crore,” Mallya said in a tweet, referring to Modi’s interview with Republic TV last week. “So the highest authority has confirmed full recovery. Why do BJP spokesmen continue their rhetoric?”
The businessman also claimed it was forgotten that he has been a resident of the UK since 1992. Mallya had left India early in March 2016, and weeks later claimed he could not return due to a conspiracy against him. A court in London ordered his extradition to India in December 2018. The UK government signed an order to extradite him on February 4.