Delhi HC Allows Vivo To Operate Frozen Bank Accounts, Asks To Furnish Bank Guarantee Of Rs 950 Crores

The Delhi High court allowed Vivo to operate its frozen accounts by depositing 950 crores in Money Laundering case.

Mumbai: The Delhi High Court Wednesday permitted Chinese smartphone maker Vivo to operate its bank accounts subject to the furnishing of a bank guarantee of Rs 950 crores. The high court also asked the company to maintain a balance of ₹ 251 crores in the bank accounts, which was there at the time of freezing of the accounts, and the amount shall not be used till further orders.

Justice Yashwant Varmagave the firm seven working days to furnish the bank guarantee and also directed it to submit details about its bank activities and remittances to the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

The order was passed after advocate Zoheb Hossain, appearing for the ED, alleged that so far, the proceeds of crime in the money laundering case against Vivo is nearly ₹1200 crores. Hossain submitted that it has not been able to analyse the material submitted by the company because they run into more than 5 Giga Bytes (GB) of data and the agency needs at least a week’s time to go through it.

Senior Advocates Siddharth Luthra and Siddharth Aggarwal, appearing for Vivo, however, said that by shutting down its accounts, ED has not only stopped it from using the money that was there but also stalled the inflow and outflow of fresh cash.

“This continued supply of oxygen is necessary for me to do my business. My continued existence cannot be criminal. I will not touch the money that was in the account but at least let me operate those accounts. Whatever the balance was, we will maintain but anything that is coming in is necessary to carry out my businesses,” Aggarwal told the court.

Luthra submitted that Vivo can even create an escrow account and deposit the ₹1,200 crore alleged to have been proceeds of crime so it is allowed to operate the accounts.

“Each day is a nail in my coffin,” he said.

The Court then agreed to allow the company to operate the accounts subject to certain conditions. It also issued notices to the ED and asked it to file a reply in a week. Vivo was directed to file its response two days thereafter.

The case will now be heard on July 28.

The Chinese company approached the High Court after ED passed an order on July 5 through which all its bank accounts were frozen.

The agency took notice of a FIR registered by the Delhi Police’s Economic Offences Wing against a Vivo distributor based in Jammu and Kashmir. It was alleged that the shareholders in the distributor’s company had found it involved in Money Laundering case.

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