Liquor baron Vijay Mallya refused on Thursday to divulge details of his overseas assets to anyone other than the Supreme Court, saying these were not acquired with loans from Indian banks to his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
The 60-year-old Rajya Sabha MP is said to be in Britain after he left India on March 2 and the enforcement directorate (ED) has approached the foreign ministry to initiate his deportation after a Mumbai court issued a non-bailable warrant against him.
Mallya, accused of money laundering and loan defaults, told the top court that he will submit details of his overseas properties in a sealed envelope on April 26. But he asked the court not to reveal the content to a consortium of 17 banks whom he allegedly owes more than Rs 9,000 crores.
Mallya declared that he, his wife and children collectively own Rs 780 crore worth of overseas assets but Indian banks have no jurisdiction over these properties. The banks can’t have the details as he and his wife were NRIs, while their son and two daughters are US citizens, he said.
“The banks have no right to this information, more so since these assets were never considered while granting the loans or restructuring the loans of Kingfisher Airlines,” he said in an affidavit to the court.
He said he can deposit Rs 1,591 crore if sales of shares of his two companies, United Spirit Limited and Kingfisher Finvest (India) Limited, were allowed. Also, Mallya asked to court to order Airbus Industries SA to return Rs 688 crore perked in the aircraft manufacturing company.
He denied that bank loans were misused or diverted to amass assets.
Mallya called Kingfisher Airlines a genuine “commercial/business failure” and blamed the 2008 global economic meltdown coupled with a spike in aviation fuel price for the downfall.
His woes continued as British multinational liquor company Diageo Plc on Thursday challenged the debt recovery tribunal’s power to direct it to deposit $40 million, which was part of a $75 million payout package signed with Mallya. The company said the amount was paid outside India.
The bank consortium had alleged that the payout as part of the sweetheart deal.
The government had suspended Mallya’s diplomatic passport and might soon start deportation proceedings. “A non-bailable warrant and suspension of his passport are good grounds to convince the British authorities to deport the businessman,” an ED official said.
The agency has drawn lessons from last year’s attempt to bring back another high-profile accused in a separate money-laundering case — former IPL chief Lalit Modi, who is believed to be in Britain too.
Mallya has ignored three summonses issued by the ED, seeking time till May to depose before the agency.
The ED alleged that Mallya had diverted Rs 430 crore of an IDBI loan and used the money to acquire properties abroad, a charge denied by Kingfisher.
The embattled billionaire, facing a multi-agency probe, was convicted on Wednesday by a Hyderabad court in a cheque-bouncing case that GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd had filed.