Vijay Mallya's UK Home Can Be Searched, Assets Seized In Win For Banks

The order grants permission to the UK High Court Enforcement Officer to enter the 62-year-old tycoon's properties in Hertfordshire, near London.

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Vijay Mallya has made an application in the Court of Appeal.

London: 

Highlights

  1. A UK judge issued an enforcement order on Thursday
  2. 13 banks now have legal option of entering Vijay Mallya's properties
  3. India's extradition case comes up in a UK court on 31 July

Fugitive tycoon Vijay Mallya's home can be searched 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 gives 13 banks the legal option of entering the properties of Vijay Mallya, who is fighting extradition to India on fraud and money-laundering charges.

A UK enforcement officer "may use reasonable force to enter the property if necessary," it says.

The banks can now enforce the Indian court ruling 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 officer and his agents can enter Mr Mallya's home in Ladywalk and Bramble Lodge in Tewin, Welwyn. Banks have the option to use the order 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.

India's extradition case comes up in a UK court on 31 July.

In May, the UK High Court had refused to scrap a worldwide order freezing Mallya's assets; the court upheld the 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 British High Court, which set a legal precedent.

Mallya has made an application in the Court of Appeal seeking permission to appeal against the order, which remains pending.

Last month, Mallya said in a statement that he had sought approvals from a court in Karnataka to sell seized assets worth Rs 13,900 crores to repay creditors including banks. He also released a two-year-old letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said he was "making every effort" to settle his dues but he had been made the "Poster Boy" of bank default and a lightning rod for public anger.

The liquor baron flew to the UK in 2016, when the banks had just launched efforts to recover dues from him.

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