SC issues contempt notice to Mallya over foreign assets

The Supreme Court has issued a notice to controversial businessman Vijay Mallya, who owes more than Rs9,000 crore to various banks over his failed Kingfisher Airlines, on a plea seeking contempt proceedings against him on the ground that he has not given full details of his assets.

The contempt plea was moved nearly two weeks back by the consortium of 17 banks which had lent to Kingfisher Airlines. Mallya is learnt to be in the United Kingdom.

Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi had told the bench comprising Justices Kurian Joseph and R F Nariman earlier that Mallya had provided wrong details of his assets in a sealed cover to the apex court.

He had further said a lot of information has also been concealed, including a cash transaction to the tune of Rs2,500 crore, which amounted to contempt of court.

Earlier, the court had sought details of assets from Mallya in a sealed cover.

Recently, the consortium of banks had alleged that Mallya was not cooperating in the investigation of cases against him and was averse to disclosing his foreign assets.

In a rejoinder affidavit to Mallyas reply, the banks had said that disclosure of overseas assets by him and his family was significant for recovering the dues.

Rohatgi had earlier said that the beleaguered businessman has also not agreed to deposit "substantial amount" as part repayment of a Rs9,400 crore loan due on him ''to establish his bona fides''.

Mallya had said the banks had no right to information regarding his overseas movable and immovable assets as he was a Non-Resident Indian since 1988.

He had claimed that as an NRI, he was not obliged to disclose his overseas assets, and added that his three children, wife, all US citizens, also need not disclose their assets. "Overseas assets were not considered while granting loans," he had said in a statement.

The court on 7 April had directed Mallya to disclose by 21 April the total assets owned by him and his family in India and abroad while seeking an indication from him when he would appear before it.

It had asked Mallya to deposit a "substantial amount" with it to "prove his bonafide" that he was "serious" about meaningful negotiations and settlement.