In two separate orders, the special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court has allowed the plea of SBI-led consortium of banks to restore to it properties collectively worth £560 million of absconding businessman Vijay Mallya. Through an order on May 24, the court restored assets worth around £423.3 million. The latest order related to assets worth £141.1 million. In both orders, the court held that prima facie Mallya and his firms were involved in falsification of accounts and misappropriation of funds.
The assets include under-construction properties in Kingfisher Tower, Vittal Mallya Road, Bengaluru, spread over 245.000 sq ft and worth over £56.4 million, multiple floors of a tower at UB City, Bengaluru valued at £71.3million (as per the ready reckoner rate in 2016) and a land parcel along with a farm house at Mandwa, Alibaug, worth around £2.5 million. In addition, bank deposits and pledged shares are also to be restored. While some assets are in Mallya’s name, others are held through his companies.
In 2019, the SBI-led consortium of 12 banks had submitted the application seeking “restoration” of the properties attached by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) under the provisions of the PMLA. It was alleged that the banks that had disbursed loans to Mallya and his companies had suffered losses of over £620 million due to their criminal actions.
Mallya’s defence had opposed the plea stating he had given only a personal guarantee and that could not connect him to the alleged money laundering. Refuting the arguments, the court said that Mallya had full control and command over Kingfisher Airlines Ltd. It said that despite having no offshore operations, its accounts indicated expenditure of fuel for ‘aircraft operating offshore’.
ED transfers UBL shares
United Breweries said the ED has transferred 413,00,000 equity shares of the Mallya-promoted firm worth over £560 million to the Demat account of recovery officer of the Debt Recovery Tribunal. In March 2019, United Breweries informed the stock exchanges that the Debt Recovery Tribunal in Bengaluru had transferred a 2.80 per cent stake worth over £102.5 million held by Mallya-promoted United Breweries (Holdings) Ltd in the company in its name. Dutch beer maker Heineken owns a 46.69 per cent stake in United Breweries. Based on the current trading price of United Breweries at Rs 1,359.10 per share on BSE, 4,13,15,690 equity shares of the company are worth £561.5 millon.