SC directs Vijay Mallya to disclose all overseas assets to banks

The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a partial revelation of overseas assets by India's liquor baron-in-exile Vijay Mallay and directed him to disclose all the overseas assets held by him and his estranged wife and children to creditor banks.

The apex court was hearing a petition alleging that Vijay Mallya was not cooperating in a probe against him being carried out by the Enforcement Directorate and other agencies in a case seeking recovery of more than Rs9,000 crore that banks have loaned to his now-grounded Kingfisher Airlines.

Mallya had submitted the details of the overseas assets held by him and his estranged wife and children in a sealed cover to the court. (See: Mallya says his foreign assets are worth Rs780 crore )

A bench of Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman while directing the disclosure of assets that Mallya held abroad, said the banks would act on the disclosures in accordance with law.

The court also directed the Bengaluru-based debts recovery tribunal to dispose of the matter pending before it expeditiously, possibly within two months.

Senior counsel CA Vaidyanathan, making submissions on behalf of Mallya, told the apex court that these assets held by Mallya, his estranged wife and children were not covered under the personal guarantee given by Mallya to the banks to return the loans that the consortium of 13 banks, headed by the State Bank of India (SBI), to his now-grounded Kingfisher Airlines.

The court also recorded a submission by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, reserving his right to refute the submission made on behalf of Mallya.

''Circumstances created point to the fact that banks want Vijay Mallya to be in jail,'' the businessman's lawyer told the SC. ''Under present circumstances, it's difficult for him to return,'' he said.

The lenders consortium had, in a rejoinder to an affidavit filed by Mallya, stated that disclosure of his foreign assets was significant for recovering its dues.

Mallya who flew to London on 2 March, allegedly to escape creditors, later proposed to pay a settlement amount of Rs6,868 crore, but the banks turned down that offer.

''In our rejoinder to Mallya's affidavit, we have stated that he has not even indicated the date of his return to the country,'' attorney general Mukul Rohatgi said, adding that the liquor baron also failed to deposit a ''substantial amount to establish his bona fide'' intentions.

Rohatgi said that the ''non-disclosure'' of assets-related information by Mallya prevents the banks from ascertaining his ability to repay.

''We have nothing to do with Mallya's claim that he cannot appear personally because of the government's action against him,'' the banks said in their affidavit.