Banks seek cops' aid to get hold of Goa's Kingfisher Villa

Even though the district collector of North Goa has allowed banks to take possession of Kingfisher Villa in Panaji, lenders have sought the assistance of Goa Police in order to do so.

Senior bankers reportedly said that with private guards, some of them armed, keeping a watch, it might not be possible to take over the property without support from the police.

Bankers are trying to acquire the property, which belongs to UB Holdings and was mortgaged to them as collateral, as part of their efforts to recover Rs9,000 crore owed by liquor baron Vijay Mallya's defunct Kingfisher Airlines.

In an order passed late on Wednesday, the district collector permitted banks to take possession of the villa. According to bankers, there are nearly a dozen guards on the premises. ''It could take the whole of Thursday and Friday depending on the availability of forces from Goa Police,'' one of the bankers told The Financial Express.

According to the banker, no one is allowed into the villa without the permission of Govind Tiwari, United Spirits Ltd's 'villa manager'. ''We will need police assistance to displace those guards and position our security personnel there,'' a banker said.

On Wednesday, news agency PTI quoted the USL counsel, advocate Parag Rao, as saying that the company had withdrawn its claim of being a tenant before the collector on Tuesday. ''We told the collector that we will not press for the objection,'' PTI quoted Rao as saying.

FE had earlier reported that bankers' attempts to take possession of Kingfisher Villa in Goa had met with resistance. United Spirits (USL), which has been claiming tenancy rights over the villa and refusing to give it up, has produced a ''villa manager'' out of the blue.

According to bankers, the ''manager'' claims to be an employee of United Breweries (Holdings) and managing Kingfisher Villa. Bankers' attempts to take possession of the property have been continuously stalled by USL, which claims to be a tenant and therefore has the first right to buy the property.

The Goa bench of the Bombay High Court had granted its approval to the lenders to take possession of Kingfisher Villa in 2014. Kingfisher Airlines has not flown since October, 2012 and is yet to repay a consortium of 17 bankers. Lenders have sold shares of companies pledged with them, and some real estate.