DRT to take up 7 petitions for final hearing in Vijay Mallya case

The Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) in Bengaluru will start final hearings on at least seven interlocutory applications, including three filed by Kingfisher Finvest India Private Limited, in the Vijay Mallya case from today.

Presiding officer C R Benakahanahalli today said the tribunal will take up at least seven interlocutory applications, including three IAs filed by Kingfisher Finvest India Private Limited, for final hearing in connection with the Vijay Mallya case.

The presiding officer had urged both the parties to prioritise 27 interlocutory applications which have been filed before the DRT.

The presiding officer said this during the DRT's proceedings in the post-lunch session, when counsel for Kingfisher Finvest pleaded for hearing the company's three IAs, including the 'Lifting of Corporate Veil', which is being heard by the tribunal after the bankers' made the plea.

Creditor banks had pleaded before the DRT for 'Lifting of Corporate Veil' to pierce the protection against personal liability enjoyed by individuals controlling the company.

Lifting of corporate veil means overlooking the corporate personality and looking straight at persons controlling the company.

In other words, where a fraudulent and dishonest use is made of the legal entity, the individuals concerned (in this case Mallya) will not be allowed to take shelter behind the corporate personality.

Based on his request, the senior counsel appearing for SBI consortium said after going through the list of IAs, ''At least two IAs needs immediate attention for it has direct bearing on the original applications (OA).''

''The other IAs are procedural in nature could be heard in short time. Also other IAs are in different high courts, Supreme Court and DRAT across India,'' he added.

Counsel appearing for Kingfisher Finvest appealed to the presiding officer to hear his three IAs where in the tribunal had given ex-party order.

However, before admitting to give a final hearing on Kingfisher Finvest India's three IAs, the presiding officer, argued that he would rather take up the hearing at the disposal stage of the final hearing.

"The crux of the matter is the fixing of liability, which the tribunal can do at the disposal stage of the final hearing. I am not saying that I will not give a hearing on priority basis, but was making a point," he said.

Counsel for Kingfisher Finvest also pleaded to hear on priority basis the IA regarding attachment of dividends that Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilisers (MCF) had paid Kingfisher Finvest India.

However, senior counsel for State Bank of India countered the submission of the company by terming it as a delaying tactics.

The bankers had moved the tribunal to attach dividends that MCF had paid to Kingfisher Finvest India, in which the tribunal had given an ex-party order in lenders' favour.

Meanwhile, the counsel for Diageo Netherlands appealed to the presiding officer to hear their application on a priority basis.

Diageo Netherlands pleaded their application relates to the pledging of USL shares to the lenders which banks have not released.

Meanwhile, a special court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act adjourned for a day the order on a plea of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) seeking proclamation against Mallya facing probe in a money-laundering case.

The court on Monday sought to know the steps taken by the ED, after it had issued a warrant against him.

On 18 April, the court issued a non-bailable warrant against Mallya to secure his presence in India.

The central agency initiated an investigation against Mallya for alleged money-laundering of a Rs900-crore loan taken from IDBI bank for Kingfisher airlines. The ED had on Saturday attached Mallya's Rs1,411-crore property.

Last week, the agency had moved an application to declare Mallya, who fled the country on 2 March, a proclaimed offender. The application was scheduled for order on Friday. However, it may be passed on Monday.

On Friday, when the case came up for hearing, the advocate for the agency, Neeti Pondi, pleaded to the court to pass an order on the plea so that the process of a red-corner notice against Mallya can me initiated.

A red-corner notice is issued to seek the location and arrest of wanted persons with a view to extradition or similar lawful action in a criminal case probe.

Once it is issued, the Interpol will seek to arrest the person in any part of the world and notify the country to take his or her custody for further action.