Vivo: Chinese mobile manufacturer Vivo moved a plea in the Delhi High Court challenging the freezing of its various bank accounts by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). ED under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 has booked Vivo and carried out raids across Vivo centres.
Earlier this week, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has blocked 119 bank accounts linked to Vivo’s India business which were holding ₹ 465 crore, ₹ 73 lakh cash and 2 kg gold bars, as part of a probe into alleged money laundering by the company.
The ED revealed the information after it carried out searches at 48 locations spanning across the country belonging to Vivo Mobiles India Private Limited and its 23 associated companies such as GPICPL. However, Vivo stated that the move was ‘bad in law’ and would harm business operation.
In the writ petition, Vivo said the orders against it are in stark contravention to the mandate of Section 17 of the PMLA, as the same do not entail any reasons for freezing, let alone cogent “reasons to believe” as to why the bank account should be frozen. It is a generic order passed mechanically without any application of mind.
“Monthly payments of around Rs 2,826 crore have to be made towards statutory dues, salaries, rent, monies for daily business operations. Due to the freezing of the bank accounts, the petitioner will be unable to honour its aforesaid obligations not only towards various statutory authorities, but also towards its employees and customers,” it further said.
“In the meanwhile and bearing the financial conditions which are expressed in the writ petition and are also set forth in a representation of July 7, 2022, the court directs the respondents [ED] to attend to that representation in light of the power of according prior permission to deal with the seized property as is envisaged under Section 17 (1A) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act,” said Justice Yashwant Varma in the order.