Various family members of the Indian tycoon who bought a massive piece of ODZ land in Gozo’s protected Dwejra coast have become Maltese citizens buying into Malta’s cash-for-passports scheme.
The Shift can reveal that at least five members of the family of Vijay Kumar Berlia, the man behind a planning application to extend and develop 30,000 square metres of land in a protected Natura 2000, have bought Maltese passports.
Berlia’s wife, Sushma Paul Berlia, and one of their sons, Aditya, have now become fully-fledged Maltese citizens by purchasing passports, according to information published in the Government Gazette.
While it is unclear whether Vijay Berlia has also applied for a passport, because the lists published in the Government Gazette date back to at least a year, he is listed in the Malta Business Registry as residing in a flat in F.S. Caruana Street in Msida.
Berlia registered a company, BV Enterprises, in 2019 which lists him as the sole director and shareholder, as well as judicial representative.
Apart from Berlia’s wife, Sushma, an entrepreneur and the President of a large private education foundation in India that also owns a university, the citizenship registry now also includes Aditya, the Pro-Chancellor of the Apeejay Stya University of New Delhi and involved in various business ventures around the world. Other ‘Maltese’ members of the Berlia family are Prianka, Viana and Vivika Berlia – thought to be Aditya’s family.
The Shift is informed that none of the family members actually live in Malta despite being considered full Maltese citizens with the right to vote in the general elections.
Vijay Berlia has made it a point to make public his support for the government that has granted his family citizenship, even supporting the governing Party’s line against journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia following her assassination.
Berlia’s development application, fronted by Gozitan architect Alex Bigeni, proposes to restart quarrying in the area, tripling the size of the existent quarry in a protected and sensitive ecological area.
While the Planning Authority is considering the proposal, the Environment and Resources Authority has shot down the proposed development, stating that it is completely unacceptable from an environmental and ecological point of view.
Last week, The Shift revealed connections to John Dalli reporting his visit to Berlai’s university. Dalli said Berlai was ‘a friend’ who did not need his consultancy services. Yet the reason for Dalli’s visit, as well as his meetings with him in Gozo, remain a question.
Sources told The Shift that Dalli and Berlia have been frequently spotted in Gozo, including in a sprawling villa in Munxar, where Dalli is said to spend many of his days.
Dalli, 72, who is still acting as a business consultant, told The Shift he was introduced to Berlia three years ago.