Details of Vijay Mallya and his family’s assets should be disclosed to banks seeking loan repayment of more than Rs 9,000 crore from the liquor baron, the Supreme Court ordered on Tuesday.
The top court rejected Mallya’s argument that the assets weren’t acquired from the loans. “We do not find any tenable objection in disclosing the assets to the petitioners (banks),” a bench of justices Kurien Joseph and RF Nariman said.
Mallya’s lawyers said the industrialist – – who left India on March 2 despite probes by the CBI and enforcement directorate -- was unwilling to return as banks wanted to see him in jail.
They said Mallya wasn’t a wilful defaulter and accused the banks and government of creating circumstances that force the 60-year-old to live abroad.
Appearing for the SBI-led consortium, attorney general Mukul Rohatgi said Mallya was a fugitive running away from justice, underlining the government’s hardening stance on the industrialist’s loan default.
He submitted the liquor baron ran away with money that “belongs to the people of India and not a king”.
The disclosure will enable the 17-bank consortium to have a meaningful settlement of money owed by Mallya’s now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines, the court said.
The bench directed the SC registry to provide a list of assets -- furnished by Mallya in a sealed packet -- to the consortium after Rohatgi argued the liquor baron was playing “hide and seek” with the court.
Rohatgi said Mallya was “deliberately concealing” because the industrialist had no intention of returning.
The development came a day after the parliamentary ethics committee recommended Mallya’s expulsion from the Rajya Sabha. The foreign ministry has already suspended his passport and is consulting experts on his deportation.
The SC bench also pulled up Mallya for not honouring its April 7 order that directed him to furnish asset details of his family and himself, specify an amount he will deposit and give a possible date when he can appear in court.
“You have to respect our order. But you are not ready to show even a rupee of what you have,” the bench noted. However, the court said Mallya and his family could avail legal remedies against banks.