A SBI-led consortium of banks on Monday urged the Supreme Court to “deprecate” founder-owner of Kingfisher Airlines Vijay Mallya for his reluctance to adduce details of assets owned by him and his family in foreign countries.
Submitting its affidavit, the banks contended that Mallya’s refusal to make details of overseas assets public should be construed as lack of bonafide on his part and the bench, led by Justice Kurian Joseph, should trash his stand. The banks stated that Mallya has disobeyed and failed to comply with the court orders to put on record details of his assets, apart from disabling banks to assess his ability to repay the loan.
The banks held that they cannot accept Mallya’s proposals offering settlement till assets’ disclosure and further that his personal guarantee is indispensable for recovery of dues. About Mallya’s inability to return to India after suspension of his passport, the affidavit said that this was being used by him as a trick to avoid coming back to the country. Mallya, the banks said, can approach Indian High Commission in London for emergency travel and indicate a date of his return if he really wants to comply with the court orders. The case will come up for hearing before the top court on Tuesday when the bench would also examine an affidavit filed by Mallya through his counsel here.
Maintaining that he is neither a “wilful defaulter” nor has he absconded, Mallya, in his affidavit, had informed the court that the total value of overseas assets owned by him and his immediate family is worth Rs 780 crore but the consortium of banks have no right to access the details of these assets. Mallya asserted that details of assets owned by him, his three children and estranged wife were a matter of “privacy” and they need not be put in the public domain since such assets were not considered by the banks before advancing loans or restructuring them. Mallya is a NRI while his children and estranged wife are US citizens.
Mallya said no overseas asset has been acquired from bank loans nor any part of the loan by any bank has been directly or indirectly remitted overseas to acquire any assets of any nature for the benefit of his family members. He has, however, said he is inclined to submit details of overseas assets in sealed cover envelopes for the perusal of the court. About depositing money to show his bonafide, the elusive liquor baron said he can give a token money of Rs 1,591 crore if the court allows sale of equity shares of United Spirits Ltd and withdrawal of cash deposit of Rs 379 crore from Laxmi Vilas Bank.
The affidavit added apart from Rs 1,591 crore, there is another Rs 1,329 crore deposit being held on the orders of the Karnataka High Court. Denying that Mallya and his companies owe more than Rs 9,000 crore to the consortium of 17 banks, his affidavit had stated that the investments made by KFA and UB group companies were lost but they were trying in “all sincerity” to work out a settlement.