The Supreme Court today put forth searching questions to liquor baron Vijay Mallya on the disclosure of his assets to the court. A bench comprising Justices A K Goel and U U Lalit asked Mallya if he had been truthful after a consortium of banks led by the SBI alleged that $40 million was transferred by Mallya to his three children in complete violation of the Karnataka High Court order.
Moreover, the fact that $40 million was received by Mallya from a United Kingdom-based company Diageo PLC was not disclosed before the court here, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the banks, alleged. Taking note of the allegation, the bench asked the counsel for Mallya to respond to the AG’s query whether “he truthfully disclosed his assets or not”.
It also wanted to know as to whether by transferring $40 million to his children, he violated the Karnataka High Court order in this regard or not. The Karnataka High Court had restrained Mallya from transferring or alienating any movable and immovable assets to any third party. The bench would resume hearing at 2pm.
On March 3, the banks had submitted that $40 million which Mallya had allegedly received from British firm Diageo in February last year was transferred to his children in “flagrant violation” of various judicial orders, including those passed by the Debt Recovery Tribunal and the Karnataka High Court. The banks prayed that orders be passed to “secure the deposit of the said amount of $40 million before this court or the DRT forthwith, pending disposal of the further recovery proceedings.”
The bench on January 11 had granted three weeks to Mallya to file an affidavit in response to the plea of banks. In October last year, the court had rapped Mallya for not making full disclosure of his overseas properties and had asked him to do so within a month. The bench had also pulled up Mallya for not giving details of the $40 million, which he had allegedly received from the British firm in February last year, saying it was of the “prima facie view” that proper disclosure as per its earlier order was not made.
The consortium of banks including SBI had alleged that the $40 million belonged to the consortium of banks which was now stashed in Mallya’s Swiss bank account and said it should be brought back to India or the Supreme Court. The banks had on August 29 last year told the apex court that Mallya had deliberately not made full disclosure of his assets including the $40 million he received on February 25, 2016 from Diageo. It had asked Mallya, who owes over Rs 9,000 crore to around 17 banks, to deposit a “substantial amount” with it to “prove his bonafide” that he was “serious” about meaningful negotiations and settlement.