The government-owned State Bank of India (SBI) has seized a villa of debt-strapped liquor baron Vijay Mallya in Panaji, Goa.
Mallya flew to London in March, under pressure from bankers seeking to recover about USD 1.4 billion owed by his collapsed Kingfisher Airline.
The district magistrate gave an order in favour of banks to take physical possession of the Kingfisher Villa in Panaji town, which was venue of many famous parties hosted by him.
“The property is attached now completely. All the inventories have been done. There is no access, nobody can enter into it. Security guard and everything has been changed now. The SBI Trustee has taken complete charge of this property and the process has ended,” said SBI lawyer Vikas Kumar.
So far, India has failed in its initial attempt to secure the return of Mallya from Britain but New Delhi said it would continue to seek his repatriation to face his creditors.
India, which has revoked Mallya’s diplomatic passport, requested on April 28 he be deported but now acknowledges there is no immediate prospect this will happen because Mallya has the right to remain in Britain.
The 60-year-old Mallya, a Formula 1 boss known as the “King of Good Times” for his party lifestyle, is the subject of a non-bailable warrant issued by a special judge in Mumbai.
The Enforcement Directorate, a government agency set up to fight financial crime, has accused Mallya’s UB Group of using 4.3 billion rupees (USD 64 million) of bank loans to Kingfisher to buy property overseas.
Creditors, led by State Bank of India, have rejected an offer of partial repayment by Mallya, who had given a personal guarantee for the Kingfisher loan.
They have demanded that the billionaire attend a hearing in the Supreme Court.
Mallya has denied wrongdoing, calling the charges against him “preposterous”. He has also offered a settlement to his creditors that they have so far refused to consider. No comment was immediately available from a Kingfisher spokesman.