Indian banks on the hunt for businessman Vijaya Mallya

Indian banks on the hunt for businessman Vijaya Mallya

Indian banks on the hunt for businessman Vijaya Mallya

Written by Lahiru Fernando

26 Apr, 2016 | 6:47 pm

Indian liquor baron, owner of Kingfisher Airlines and co-owner of the Formula 1 team “Sahara Force India F1” Vijaya Mallya is in deep waters as a group of 18 banks, headed by the State Bank of India, is on the hunt for the businessmen to reclaim loan money which is said to be nearly a billion dollars.

India’s Supreme Court directed on Tuesday, April 26 that all overseas assets of Vijay Mallya and that of his wives and children be disclosed to the consortium of Indian banks, which is seeking dues of about Rs. 90 billion (INR) from the now-grounded “Kingfisher Airlines”.

The 60-year-old liquor baron who has so far refused to return to India from the UK to face lenders, has made an argument saying that the banks have no right to seek information about his overseas properties and investments as the loans given to Kingfisher Airlines were not based them.

The Supreme Court bench has also rejected the businessman’s request for privacy as a non-resident Indian as also his pleas that his personal guarantee was only to the tune of Rs 10.3 billion (INR). The court also refused to extend any protection from disclosure of assets of his wives and children. Mallya’s lawyer CS Vaidyanathan sought a court protection that this information would not be used against him in criminal proceedings initiated against him by the enforcement directorate but got none.

According to Mallya’s lawyer, he has pegged domestic assets at Rs 20 billion (INR) and overseas assets worth Rs 7.4 billion (INR).

Mr Mallya’s lawyer has also informed courts that he has no information on when the liquor baron plans to return to the country. According to the lawyer, Mallya fears that banks are not interested in settlement and only want to see Mallya “behind the bars”.

The businessman who was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 2010. However given the situation he is likely to be expelled from Parliament in the near future.

The banks have been adamant on negotiating repayment offers with Mallya in person and has rejected the businessman’s attempts to negotiate through video-conference.

Speaking to Indian media, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi has accused Mallya of playing “hide and seek” and said the businessman is a “fugitive from justice”. The AG has also made it clear that the government will approach the UK government if further action against Mallya is required. Rohatgi noted that Mallya did not comply with the court’s order to indicate his date of return to India and appearance before it.

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