Maintaining that he is neither a “wilful defaulter” nor has he absconded, founder-owner of Kingfisher Airlines Vijay Mallya informed the Supreme Court Thursday that the total value of overseas assets owned by him and his immediate family is worth Rs 780 crore but the SBI-led consortium of banks have no right to access the details of these assets.
Submitting his affidavit before a bench headed by Justice Kurian Joseph, Mallya asserted that details of assets owned by him, his three children and estranged wife were a matter of “privacy” and they need not be put in the public domain since such assets were not considered by the banks before advancing loans or restructuring them. Mallya is a NRI while his children and estranged wife are US citizens.
Mallya said no overseas asset has been acquired from bank loans nor any part of the loan by any bank has been directly or indirectly remitted overseas to acquire any assets of any nature for the benefit of his family members. He has, however, said he is inclined to submit details of overseas assets in sealed cover envelopes for the perusal of the court.
About depositing money to show his bonafide, the elusive liquor baron said he can give a token money of Rs 1,591 crore if the court allows sale of equity shares of United Spirits Ltd and withdrawal of cash deposit of Rs 379 crore from Laxmi Vilas Bank.
The affidavit added apart from Rs 1,591 crore, there is another Rs 1,329 crore deposit being held on the orders of the Karnataka High Court.
Denying that Mallya and his companies owe more than Rs 9,000 crore to the consortium of 17 banks, the affidavit stated that the investments made by KFA and UB group companies were lost but they were trying in “all sincerity” to work out a settlement.
“The Kingfisher Airlines was a genuine commercial/business failure and it is vehemently denied that any loan advanced by any of the petitioner banks to the Airlines has been at all misused or otherwise Respondent No. 3 (Mallya) has amassed assets/properties in the names of his family members or relatives or friends with intention to defeat the purpose of recovery of alleged dues,” it added.
Complaining about the issuance of a non-bailable warrant against him at the instance of the Enforcement Directorate and suspension of his passport, Mallya contended these developments have “created impediments in the whole process and endeavour” by them.
“It is false to allege that Mallya has absconded. However, the recent actions of the Central government only confirms that the apprehension of Mallya that he is needlessly being persecuted and with respect, wrongly prosecuted. The unseemly haste in suspending the passport even before issuing a show-cause notice and hearing the version, as also the unseemly hurry in initiating coercive proceedings to issue a NBW are a part of and a consequence of the unfair and unfortunate media trial,” the affidavit complained.
Mallya has also sought dismissal of the petition filed by the banks, pointing out that since his passport has already been suspended by the Ministry of External Affairs and coercive actions are on, the prayer in the petition has become infructuous.
The case will now come up for hearing on April 26 when the bench would examine Mallya’s affidavit.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines