Indian banks are working closely with various agencies, including in the UK, to recover maximum out of assets owned by Vijay Mallya after a British court allowed them to search and seize properties of the fugitive liquor baron, State Bank of India Managing Director Arijit Basu said on Friday. He said the Indian banks have already recovered a total of Rs 963 crore through sale of Mallya’s domestic assets, and the UK Court’s order would further empower them to recover loans not repaid by Kingfisher Airlines.
The SBI is the leader of consortium of 13 banks that lent about Rs 9,000 crore to Mallya’s now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines. “We have been able to come this far because of efforts that were taken in a very coordinated manner by all agencies including the government. We are very happy with the court order and with this kind of order we have we should be able to go after those assets,” he said in a press briefing in the finance ministry.
When asked by when will the Indian banks be able to sell Mallya’s assets, Basu banks are working very closely with all agencies and lawyers in London as to how the High Court Enforcement Order (HCEO) can be enforced. The order grants permission to the UK High Court Enforcement Officer to enter the Mallya’s properties in Hertfordshire, near London. SBI has appointed valuer to assess the value of assets of Mallya. He said banks will use the order to maximise their recoveries.
The order permits the officer and his agents entry to Ladywalk and Bramble Lodge in Tewin, Welwyn, where Mallya is currently based. However, it is not an instruction to enter, which means the banks have the option to use the order as one of the means to recover estimated funds of around 1.145 billion pounds.
Without giving a specific number, Basu said: “there are various laws which operate between different countries that allow us to go beyond our national borders. With the effort that we have made, we have got worldwide freezing order. Going by the assets that we have, we feel that it will be significant amount of the debt if not whole amount”.
He said banks have worked really hard for the last 2-3 years to try and get recovery order which has been given by the debt recovery tribunal because many of the assets which this person holds are not in the country but outside. The last consortium meeting took place on May 30 following which the bank appointed lawyer in London, he said.
The order relates to the UK’s Tribunal Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 and follows a UK High Court ruling in May, which refused to overturn a worldwide order freezing Mallya’s assets and upheld an Indian court’s ruling that the Indian banks were entitled to recover funds.
It marked the first recorded case of a judgment of the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) in India being registered by the English High Court, setting a legal precedent. Mallya has made an application in the Court of Appeal seeking permission to appeal against the order, which remains pending.
Mallya, who is separately fighting extradition to India on fraud and money laundering charges, had recently issued a media statement condemning the charges against him as politically motivated. Reacting to the UK High Court order, Punjab National Bank (PNB) said on Thursday that it will conduct fresh valuation of Mallya’s assets after the order. “We have done valuation of Mallya’s asset now we will do a fresh valuation and pursue disposal of assets to recover our debt,” PNB MD and CEO Sunil Mehta said. PNB is part of the 13-bank consortium that lent to Kingfisher Airlines.
We will do a fresh valuation: PNB
- Reacting to the United Kingdom High Court order, Punjab National Bank Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer said: “We have done valuation of Mallya’s asset now we will do a fresh valuation and pursue disposal of assets to recover our debt.”
- When asked by when will the Indian banks be able to sell Mallya’s assets, State Bank of India Managing Director Arijit Basu banks are working very closely with all agencies and lawyers in London as to how the High Court Enforcement Order can be enforced.