The Supreme Court on Monday passed a strict warning to beleaguered businessman Vijay Mallya to give full disclosure of foreign assets including those owned by his children and wife.
A bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and R F Nariman also pulled up Mallya for not giving details of $40 million which he had received from British firm Diageo on February this year.
The apex court, hearing a plea from Mallya, also directed the Bangalore Debt Recovery Tribunal to expedite the case and set a 2-months deadline to pronounce the order in the case.
Mallya had not disclosed his total foreign assets citing his NRI status, while his domestic assets were pegged at Rs 2,014 crore, overseas assets at Rs 748 crore. He had also repeated his stance to the Supreme Court that the atmosphere is not conducive for him to return to India and he’ll be sent to Tihar jail once he return.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the court that Mallya had provided wrong details of his assets in a sealed cover to the apex court. AG had also alleged that a lot of information had also been concealed, including a cash transaction to the tune of Rs 2500 crore, which amounted to contempt of court.
A clutch of 17 banks are fighting to get back Rs 9,000 crore money lent to Mallya’s now defunct Kingfisher Airlines that stopped flying in 2012. Though banks classified Mallya as a defaulter that year itself, banks have so far not been able to make any meaningful recovery in this case. These despite two lenders, State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank have tagged Mallya as a willful defaulter. The band consortium moved to the SC seeking action against Mallya.
Mallya had maintained that the banks had no right over information regarding his overseas movable and immovable assets as he was NRI since 1988. Taking the backing of his status he said he was not obliged to disclose his overseas assets, and added that his wife and three children, all US citizens, also need not disclose their assets.
Mallya has failed to return to India since his investigation which started on 2nd march, saying his personal liberty are at stake and he must have the freedom to mobilize funds.
Banks are more interested in putting him behind bars rather than getting their money back, Mallya informed the court, adding returning to India is meaningless in the current context.