Delhi HC allows Vivo entities to operate frozen bank accounts on conditions

The Delhi High Court on Monday permitted 14 entities of Chinese smartphone maker Vivo to operate their frozen bank accounts on a condition of maintaining bank accounts’ balances, which were shown during the Enforcement Directorate (ED) search in a money laundering probe.

Justice Yashwant Varma also directed the companies to provide the complete details in this regard to the ED in every 48 hours.

The court said the petitioner companies maintaining a balance as was available on the day of freezing the individual bank accounts, the debit freeze order of ED can be modified.

The bench was hearing the plea of the 14 companies — Rui Chuang Technologies Pvt Ltd, Unimay Electronic Pvt Ltd, Technology Transforms Pvt Ltd, Junwei Electronic Pvt Ltd, Yingjia Communication Pvt Ltd, Joinmay Electronic Pvt Ltd, Huijin Electronic India Pvt Ltd, Haijin Trade India Pvt Ltd, Fangs Technology Pvt Ltd, Iqonic Mobile Pvt Ltd, Aohua Mobile India Pvt Ltd, Joinmay Electronics Pvt Ltd, Hisoa Electronic Pvt Ltd and Haicheng Mobile Pvt Ltd.

On July 13, the Delhi High Court had allowed Vivo to operate its bank accounts on the condition of furnishing a bank guarantee of Rs 950 crore and maintaining Rs 250 crore in its accounts.

Vivo was knocking the doors of high court following the ED searches on the premises of Chinese companies, including Vivo, at 44 locations across 22 states.

The probe agency argued that Vivo had remitted 50 per cent of its total sales, i.e., Rs 62,476 crore, to China.

It earned nearly Rs 1.20 lakh crore in the last two years but remitted nearly half of it to avoid paying taxes, the ED alleged. This caused huge losses to the Indian incorporated companies, the ED said.

In its plea, Vivo said the orders against it are in stark contravention to the mandate of Section 17 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (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, the plea said.

It also said the frozen accounts are used for the payment of salaries and statutory dues, opening of letter of credits for the petitioner’s operations, and for all kinds of expenses necessary for the day-to-day functioning of the petitioner.

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