The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has approached a special court under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to sell the stake of beleaguered businessman Vijay Mallya in United Breweries (UB) and United Spirits (USL). This would be the first major move by the enforcement agency where Mallya’s shares could be sold in the open market.
According to ED sources, the amount accrued by selling the shares would be kept in fixed deposits till proceedings against him in various courts get completed.
"The disposal of shares at this point would isolate risk of any further fall in share prices," said a senior ED official.
ED expects the sale to fetch around Rs 1,700 crore from the UB stake (Mallya holds 8.1 per cent) and more than Rs 3 crore from the USL sale, where he owns 12,510 shares (less than one per cent).
ED had last year attached the personal shares of Mallya and his associate firms in connection with the money laundering case filed by the agency in the Rs 950-crore IDBI Bank loan default case.
The shares include those held in group companies, such as United Breweries Holdings, United Breweries and United Spirits.
It has been learnt that the same set of shares were also attached by the 17-bank consortium led by the State Bank of India.
According to an ED official, the PMLA supersedes any other attachments made under statutory laws. This gives ED the first right of refusal while disposing of any of the assets owned by Mallya and his holding companies.
The total attachment made so far by the agency, in this case, is more than Rs 9,661 crore.
The shares were seized soon after the special court declared him a proclaimed offender and directed the directorate to attach his personal assets.
Mallya, who had been summoned by the ED in the money laundering case, neither presented himself in pursuance of the summons issued to him thrice by the ED nor did he honour the court directions instructing him to appear before it. The court had also issued non-bailable warrants against him in April last year.
Meanwhile, Mallya’s extradition case trial will begin in December at a UK court. The extradition dossier contains details of evidence, including the chargesheet filed along with relied upon documents and non-bailable warrant of arrest.
The UK court would take a call on repetitive avoidance and non-compliance. The ED had filed an application before the court to declare him a proclaimed offender and attach his movable and immovable properties to compel him to join the probe, the official explained.