The Enforcement Directorate (ED) today said it will appeal against a recent order of a PMLA tribunal, asking the agency to release a "miniscule" amount of assets it had attached in connection with a multi-crore-rupee bank loan fraud probe related to the Kingfisher Airlines and its promoter Vijay Mallya.
The appellate tribunal to hear cases filed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) recently set aside the ED orders to attach two flats in Kingfisher Towers in Bengaluru, reportedly stating that they were "not linked" to the alleged money laundering and banking fraud.
The agency, which is in charge of the enforcement of the stringent PMLA in the country, said the assets were attached by it after conducting a "proper verification" and that they were registered in the name of United Breweries Holdings Limited (UBHL).
"During the investigation before attachment, UBHL had stated that with respect to the flats in Kingfisher Towers in Bengaluru, no sale deed was executed nor registered with the registrar of properties.
"Thus, all the properties vest with UBHL and accordingly, the same was attached provisionally and the Adjudicating Authority (of PMLA), after going through the evidence, has confirmed the provisional attachments," the ED said in a statement.
It added that UBHL, floated by Mallya, was a "corporate guarantor" for the beleaguered airlines, which, along with others, allegedly "siphoned off the loan amount to overseas locations under various pretexts", and hence, the assets were covered under its attachment order.
"The book value of the properties was approximately Rs 60 crore, which is very miniscule as compared to the total value of property attached/seized by the ED, aggregating to the tune of Rs 12,500 crore, in this case," it said.
The statement added that the central probe agency "is filing an appeal against the orders of the Appellant Tribunal in the jurisdictional High Court".
The ED, along with the CBI, is probing the case of alleged bank fraud to the tune of about Rs 9,000 crore and an extradition process to bring Mallya back to India is currently going on in London.