London court asks Vijay Mallya to pay £200,000 in costs to Indian banks
16 June 2018
Fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya looked like fighting a losing battle in Britain after the UK High Court on Friday ordered him to pay a minimum of 200,000 pounds towards the costs incurred by 13 Indian banks in their legal battle to recover alleged dues.
The London court Judge Andrew Henshaw also ordered Mallya, 62, to pay costs towards registering an Indian court’s order freezing his assets worldwide and the order of the Karnataka Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) in Britain.
While the court may fix the actual costs to the banks, unless mutually agreed to, Mallya must pay the £200,000 towards this legal costs liability in the meantime.
In a ruling in May, Judge Henshaw had refused to overturn an Indian court’s order freezing Mallya's assets worldwide and empowering a consortium of 13 Indian banks led by State Bank of India (SBI) to recover funds amounting to nearly £1.145 billion from Mallya and his entities (See: Indian banks win Rs10,000 cr lawsuit against Mallya in UK)
Besides State Bank of India, the consortium includes Bank of Baroda, Corporation Bank, Federal Bank Ltd, IDBI Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Jammu and Kashmir Bank, Punjab and Sind Bank, Punjab National Bank, State Bank of Mysore, UCO Bank, United Bank of India and JM Financial Asset Reconstruction Co Pvt Ltd.
Mallya cannot challenge the order, but can appeal in the Court of Appeal, the highest court in England and Wales.
“The First Defendant’s (Mallya) application for permission to appeal is refused. Any further application for permission to appeal should be made to the Court of Appeal to be dealt with by a judge of that court,” the judgment notes.
Mallya, who is also fighting extradition to India over charges of fraud and money laundering of an estimated Rs9,000 crore, has already moved the Court of Appeal seeking permission to appeal. That permission, however, will be granted only if the court is satisfied of the prospect of success or any compelling reason for the appeal to be heard.
The Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London has set Mally’s extradition case for final hearings next month. The Crown prosecution Service (CPS) believes it has established a prima facie case of fraud against Mallya and that there is nothing to bar his extradition to India.
Mallya has been on bail since his arrest on an extradition warrant in April last year.
Mallya’s lawyers have claimed the criminal charges against their client are “without substance” and “politically motivated”. They have also challenged the case on human rights grounds, pointing to the appalling conditions in Indian jails.