Mumbai– Absconding liquor baron Vijay Mallya on Monday pleaded before the Bombay High Court against confiscating his properties under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act (FEOA), 2018, terming it as “draconian” and a move that will not bring any relief to the creditors.

His counsel Amit Desai made the submissions before Justice I.A. Mahanty and Justice A.M. Badar, arguing that the Enforcement Directorate (ED)’s plans to seize Mallya’s properties would not help the lenders.

“Confiscation is draconian. The need of hour is to deal with the banks and creditors. He (Mallya) does not want the properties returned. We only say that seizure by the government won’t solve the problems of the banks and creditors,” Desai pointed out.

The contentions came during the hearing of Mallya’s plea before the court, challenging the January 5 order of the Special Court of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), proclaiming him a fugitive economic offender under the FEOA.

This would have empowered the ED to confiscate all the properties of Mallya, which he challenged. The next hearing will be held on April 24.

Opposing his plea, the Directorate said the objective was to ensure the return of the person who is evading arrest in India. Mallya is currently in the United Kingdom, awaiting the outcome of his extradition proceedings initiated by India.

The ED’s application before the Special PMLA Court, seeking permission to initiate the confiscation proceedings, will be heard on April 8.

Spelling a big victory for the investigating agencies, the Mumbai Special Court had on January 5, 2019 declared Mallya a “fugitive” under the Section 12 of FEOA, 2018, in the case filed by the ED in June 2018.

In the first of its kind case under the new law, on June 22 last year, the ED moved the Special PMLA Court here seeking to declare Mallya a “fugitive economic offender”, empowering the agency to seize and sell all his properties — estimated at over Rs 12,000-crore — to recover his pending dues with banks and creditors. (IANS)