The State Bank of India and 12 other banks informed a Bench of Supreme Court Justices that liquor baron Vijay Mallya left the country on March 2, the very day the banks to which he owed over Rs.9000 crore, moved the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT).
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said he learned of Mallya’s departure from the CBI. Just 24 hours earlier the banks urgently moved the court to restrain Mallya, a Rajya Sabah member, from leaving the country. The banks wanted the court to seize his passport and pass an order directing him to appear before the Bench, to discuss and reach a settlement on retrieving their money.
Mr Rohatgi informed the court that Mallya’s assets were mostly abroad, with just a fraction in India. When asked by the court why there were no secured assets on the loans he said when the loans were granted, Kingfisher Airlines was at its peak, with assets worth thousands of crores, but then it ‘crashed’
The Bench issued a notice to Mallya through his company United Breweries Holdings Ltd, his counsel, the Indian High Commissioner in the UK, and through his official Rajya Sabha email address. The court sought a response from him in 2 weeks and fixed a hearing for March 30.
Before moving the High Court the banks filed 4 pleas before the DRT in Bengaluru for action such as freezing Mallya’s passport, issuance of an arrest warrant and an order against Diageo Plc and United Spirits Ltd. The banks told the Supreme Court the threat to their financial interests was immediate and grave
A Delhi court has fixed April 27 as the date for hearing final arguments against the liquor baron.