Banks get Rs 9k crore from sale of fugitive businessmen's assets

By Express News Service
NEW DELHI, BENGALURU: Facing a lot of flak over ‘fugitive’ businessmen Mehul Choksi, Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallaya, the government on Wednesday scored big political points when it announced that Rs 9,042 crore worth of attached assets of the three have been transferred to the PSU banks defrauded by them.

According to a statement issued by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi had defrauded Public Sector Banks, causing a total loss of Rs 22,586 crore to the banks. The amount of Rs 9,042 crore accounted for 40 per cent of the total loss suffered by the banks.

The ED has so far attached/seized assets to the tune of Rs 18,170 crore under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) of the three absconding promoters, whose firms defaulted on payment to banks. The attached assets include properties worth Rs 969 crore located in foreign countries.

Of the Rs 9,042 crore, Rs 5,824 crore has been recovered by sale of shares of United Breweries to Heineken NV. The Debt Recovery Tribunal, on behalf of the SBI-led consortium, on Wednesday sold shares of United Breweries Ltd. 

The Dutch liquor company acquired 3.96 crore shares, or 15% in United Breweries. According to the ED, further realisation of Rs 800 crore by sale of shares is expected by June 25. Public sector banks have already recovered Rs 1,357 crore by selling shares earlier.

According to the annual report of United Breweries, equity shares accounting for 16.15 pc, held by a few promoter companies of Vijay Mallya, had been transferred to the demat account of the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Mumbai.

Based on the FIRs by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the ED acted on these cases and detected a number of domestic and international transactions and assets stashed abroad. The ED has also filed prosecution complaints against all the three accused after completion of money-laundering investigations.

“The investigation has also irrevocably proved that these three accused persons used dummy entities controlled by them for rotation and siphoning off the funds provided by the banks,” the central agency stated. According to the ED,

“out of total attached/seized assets of Rs 18,170.02 crore under provisions of PMLA, assets worth of Rs 329.67 crore has been confiscated and assets worth Rs 9,041.5 crore, representing 40 per cent of the total loss to the banks, have been handed over to them.”

Extradition requests have been sent for these persons to the UK and Antigua and Barbuda. The extradition of Vijay Mallya has been ordered by the Westminster Magistrates Court and confirmed by the UK High Court. Since Vijay Mallya has been denied permission to file an appeal in the UK Supreme Court, his extradition to India has become final.

The Westminster Magistrates Court had ordered the extradition of Nirav Modi to India. Nirav Modi has been in London jail for the last two years and three months on the basis of an extradition request by India. Nirav Modi and Vijay Mallya have also been declared Fugitive Economic Offenders by the PMLA Court in Mumbai.