Mallya not in India: Govt to apex court

Mallya not in India: Govt to apex court

Mallya not in India: Govt to apex court
As the Centre claimed that head of the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines Vijay Mallya left the country on March 2, the Supreme Court on Wednesday questioned the banks for disbursing loans over Rs 9,000 crore without securing his assets.

While hearing a plea by a consortium of 17 banks led by State Bank of India (SBI) for impounding his passport, a bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and R F Nariman issued notice to Mallya seeking his response within two weeks.

Appearing for the banks, Attorney General (A-G) Mukul Rohatgi submitted that Mallya owed over Rs 9,000 crore to 17 banks. “On March 2, the day we moved the Debt Recovery Tribunal in Goa and Bengaluru for the loan amount, I am told by the CBI that he has already left the country,” said Rohatgi.

“We want a garnishee order and there is also a need for disclosure on behalf of Mallya. We want his appearance here as it is public money,” Rohatgi added.

Refusing to issue any summons to Mallya for the moment, the bench asked the A-G: “How did you give loan to him when he was a defaulter and facing proceedings in a court of law? Was it secured?” To this, the A-G said loans were given taking into account factors like brand value and logo of the company. He said Mallya has assets, movable and immovable, abroad which are far in excess to loans secured by him. Rohatgi said it was likely that Mallya, a Rajya Sabha MP, is in England in view of the tremendous assets he has over there.

Taking the A-G’s submission into account, the bench allowed Rohatgi to serve Mallya a notice through the Indian High Commission at London, on his Rajya Sabha email ID and his counsel. The court put the matter for further hearing on March 30.

The consortium of banks challenged the Karnataka High Court order of March 4 where their request for issuing an interim restraint order was turned down.

The banks contended that the high court “order has completely failed to protect the interest of the petitioner banks which are yet to recover an amount in excess of Rs 9,000 crore” from Mallya, Kingfisher and United Breweries.
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