Fugitive tycoon Vijay Mallya’s home can be searched by a court officer and his assets can be seized as a means of recovering the money he owes banks in India in unpaid loans, following an enforcement order by a UK judge.
The enforcement order has been issued in favour of 13 Indian banks that are fighting to recover funds owed to them by Vijay Mallya. The banks can now enforce the Indian court order freezing his wealth in England and Wales.
The order allows the UK High Court Enforcement Officer to enter the 62-year-old tycoon’s properties in Hertfordshire near London.
The liquor baron is fighting extradition to India on fraud and money-laundering charges.
After the enforcement order, the court officer and his agents can enter Vijay Mallya’s home in Ladywalk and Bramble Lodge in Tewin, Welwyn. Banks have the option to use the order as one of the means to recover estimated funds of around Rs 9,000 crores.
“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 June 26 order by Justice Byran.
The officer “may use reasonable force to enter the property if necessary,” it states.
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 Vijay Mallya’s assets and upheld an Indian court’s ruling that 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.
Vijay Mallya has made an application in the Court of Appeal seeking permission to appeal against the order, which remains pending.