SC rejects Mallya's plea on privacy

SC rejects Mallya's plea on privacy

SC rejects Mallya's plea on privacy

The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected industrialist Vijay Mallya's contention that the assets owned by him and his immediate family in foreign countries were a matter of “privacy”.

A bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and R F Nariman directed for disclosure of all assets of the promoter of Kingfisher Airlines to the SBI-led consortium of banks, which sought repayment of loans over Rs 9,000 crore.

“We don't find any tangible objection in disclosing the assets (of Mallya, his estranged wife and children) to the banks,” the bench said, noting that the disclosure would help banks in negotiations and final settlement.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi contended that Mallya is “a fugitive from justice in India,” and was playing “hide and seek” and cooking a “cock and bull story” about settling the dues and reasons for non-disclosure of his assets.

He contended Mallya was deliberately concealing facts as he had no intention to come back. Defending Mallya and his companies, senior advocates C S Vaidyanathan and Parag Tripathi submitted that a concerted effort was being made to ensure he is thrown behind the bars as soon as he lands in India. Mallya was a defaulter but not a willful defaulter.
His was a case of business failure, they claimed. Vaidyanathan submitted the accumulated loans of Kingfisher Airlines stood at Rs 16,000 crore in 2013 and all loans were given on the basis of personal assets of Mallya.

The liabilities cannot be attached to his estranged wife living abroad and NRI children protected under the law from disclosing their overseas assets, he contended. The court, however, asked its registry to furnish to the consortium of banks details of the assets — both domestic and foreign — declared by the elusive liquor baron in a sealed cover envelope.

“The whole purpose of asking for disclosure was to give a fair idea to banks for entering into a meaningful and viable settlement,” the bench said as it noted Mallya did not comply with its previous order on April 7.

The court also asked the Debt Recovery Tribunal in Bengaluru to decide expeditiously within 2 months a batch of petitions by the banks and financial institutions for recovery of their loans from Mallya and his companies.

As the bench asked as to when Mallya was ready to come to India, his counsel submitted that they had no instruction about it.

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