Attend to Vivo India's plea on frozen bank accounts: Delhi HC directs ED
New Delhi, July 08: The Delhi High Court on Friday directed the Enforcement Directorate to attend to a representation made by Chinese smartphone maker Vivo seeking permission to deal with its frozen bank accounts for making payments towards certain liabilities.
"Mr. Zoheb Hossain, learned counsel appearing for the Enforcement Directorate, is requested to obtain instructions in respect of the reliefs as prayed in the writ petition," said the court as it directed that the matter be listed for further consideration on July 13.
"In the meanwhile and bearing in mind the financial constraints which are expressed in the writ petition and are also set forth in the representation of July 7, 2022, the court directs the respondent to attend to that representation in light of the power of according prior permission to deal with the seized property as in envisaged (in the PMLA Act)," ordered the court.
Senior advocates Sidharth Luthra and Siddharth Agarwal, appearing for the Vivo, submitted that the freezing of the bank accounts has brought the functioning of the petitioner to a standstill and there are crores of rupees that have to be paid as statutory dues apart from the payment of salaries to its employees.
Advocate Zoheb Hossain, who represented the ED, informed the court that the search operation would conclude during the course of the day and that the present petition was premature.
According to ED, Vivo has remitted almost 50 per cent of its turnover, which is Rs 62,476 crore, mainly to China in order to avoid paying taxes in India.
The federal probe agency has seized funds worth Rs 465 crore kept in 119 bank accounts by various entities, Rs 73 lakh cash and 2 kg gold bars after its pan-India raids that were launched early this week on July 5 against Vivo Mobile India Pvt. Ltd. and its 23 associated companies.
It alleged that "employees of Vivo India, including some Chinese nationals, did not cooperate with the search proceedings and tried to abscond, remove and hide digital devices which were retrieved by the search teams."
The stepped-up action against the Chinese-backed companies or entities operating in India comes in the backdrop of the military stand-off between the two countries along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh has been ongoing for more than two years now.
China on Wednesday expressed hope that India will conduct the ongoing investigations into the Chinese mobile manufacturer firm Vivo in accordance with the law and regulations and provide a " truly fair" and "non-discriminatory" business environment to China's firms.
Asked about the ongoing raids on Vivo offices in several locations in India, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing here that the Chinese side is closely following the developments on this matter.