‘Uncooperative’ Mallya: Supreme Court to hear banks’ plea today

The Supreme Court will on Tuesday hear a petition alleging that liquor baron Vijay Mallya is not cooperating in the probe initiated against him, and has refrained from disclosing his foreign assets.

A consortium of banks on Monday stated in a rejoinder to an affidavit filed by Mallya that disclosure of his foreign assets was significant for recovering its dues.

Mallya, who owes over Rs 9,000 crore to around 17 banks, flew to London on March 2 to allegedly escape his creditors. The businessman later proposed to pay a settlement amount of Rs 6,868 crore, an offer that was turned down by the banks.

“In our rejoinder to Mallya’s affidavit, we have stated that he has not even indicated the date of his return to the country,” attorney general Mukul Rohatgi said, adding that the liquor baron also failed to deposit a “substantial amount to establish his bona fide” intentions.

Rohatgi said that the “non-disclosure” of assets-related information by Mallya prevents the banks from ascertaining his ability to repay.

“We have nothing to do with Mallya’s claim that he cannot appear personally because of the government’s action against him,” the banks said in their affidavit. They also expressed disapproval over the fact that Mallya and his companies wanted to submit the data in a sealed cover to the apex court instead of them.

The rejoinder was filed in response to Mallya’s affidavit, which claimed that banks had no right to seek information on his overseas assets because he was an NRI since 1988. The businessman stated that as he was an NRI, neither his wife nor his three children – all US citizens – were required to disclose their assets. “My overseas assets were not considered while granting the loans,” he said in a statement.

Mallya, however, said he was willing to deposit an aggregate of Rs 1,591 crore before the apex court to show that his intentions were bona fide.

The Supreme Court had earlier directed the businessman to disclose the total assets owned by him and his family by April 21, and indicate when he would appear before it. It had also asked Mallya to deposit a “substantial amount” to prove that he was “serious” about conducting meaningful negotiations and arriving at a settlement.

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