UBI says efforts on to declare Mallya wilful defaulter

UBI says efforts on to declare Mallya wilful defaulter

UBI says efforts on to declare Mallya wilful defaulter

After being declared as wilful defaulter by State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank, one more state-run lender United Bank of India today said it is continuing its efforts to declare liquor barron Vijay Mallya as wilful defaulter.

United Bank of India (UBI) was the first lender to make an attempt to declare Mallya as wilful defaulter in 2014 but it was dismissed by the Calcutta High Court.

"Early last year, we went to Calcutta division bench. Most of the arguments have been heard. We were expecting the final outcome before March," United Bank of India Managing Director and CEO P Srinivas told PTI.

"We have not left the case (to declare Mallya as wilful defaulter). We are pursuing it," he added. The bank's earlier decision to declare Mallya as wilful defaulter was dismissed by the High Court on technical grounds. The RBI guidelines require a three-member grievance redressal committee but the bank had formed a four-member committee.

Earlier in the day, the Debt Recovery Tribunal barred Mallya from withdrawing USD 75 million exit payment from British liquor giant Diageo till the disposal of Kingfisher Airlines' loan default case filed by SBI.

SBI, which leads the consortium of 17 banks that lent money to the grounded Kingfisher Airlines, had moved DRT here against the airline's chairman Mallya in its bid to recover over Rs 7,000 crore of dues from him.

Diageo and United Spirits Ltd, owned by the UK-based firm, have also been restrained by DRT Judge Benakanahalli from temporarily disbursing the amount to Mallya, who worked out the deal under a severance package.

The tribunal ordered that the amount be attached till the disposal of the original application filed by State Bank of India in 2013. In his order on the plea by the SBI application seeking the lenders' first right on the USD 75-million sweetheart deal, the judge also directed disclosure of details of the agreement which they have arrived at.

"This is a temporary relief for us. There were three more applications SBI had filed and we want to hear judgement on them," the UBI chief said. SBI had filed three other applications, including one seeking Mallya's arrest and impounding of his passport, which the judge had said on March 4 would be heard later.

These three applications filed by SBI before the DRT will come up for hearing on March 28. Mallya had to quit recently as chairman of United Spirits — a company founded by his family in which he sold majority stake to Diageo.

Under the deal, that also ended a year-long boardroom battle at United Spirits, Diageo has agreed to pay Mallya USD 75 million (Rs 515 crore).

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