NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed liquor baron Vijay Mallya to disclose all his assets and those of his family in India and abroad to a consortium of banks. The setback to the business tycoon came just a day after the Ethics Committee of the Rajya Sabha had recommended his expulsion from the House. A bench, comprising Justices Kurian Joseph and R F Nariman, ruled, “We don’t find any tangible objection in disclosing the assets (of Mallya, his wife and children) to banks.” It directed the apex court registry to furnish to the banks, details of assets, both domestic and foreign, submitted by Mallya in a sealed cover to the court.
The bench took exception to Mallya’s non-compliance of its April 7 order and said, “The whole purpose of asking for disclosure was to give a fair idea to the banks for entering into a meaningful and viable settlement.” It also asked the Debt Recovery Tribunal to expeditiously decide within two months, the pleas of banks and financial institutions for recovery of their loans. During the hearing, the bench questioned senior advocates CS Vaidyanathan and Parag Tripathi, appearing for Mallya, about his presence in India. Vaidyanathan replied, “I have no instruction on this. In spite of all investigation since July 2015, not a shred of evidence was found (against Mallya) of misuse or diversion of funds secured as loan... the only purpose of insisting on his return was to see him in Tihar jail.” He contended that asking for details of overseas assets of Mallya and his family was in violation of right to privacy.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said despite revocation of Mallya’s passport, if the fugitive businessman shows willingness to return, a one-way travel permit could be arranged. “He is a fugitive from justice in India,” the AG said, adding the businessman was playing hide and seek. Rohatgi further submitted that Mallya was “deliberately concealing something from the court” as he had “no intention to come back”. However, Mallya’s lawyer said he was a defaulter but not a wilful defaulter. He explained that the accumulated loans of Kingfisher Airlines stood at `16,000 crore in 2013.
SC Raps Centre over bad loans
The Supreme Court pulled up the Centre for not having a mechanism for recovering the defaulted loans by PSU banks. “There is also a need of amendments. Suggest the ways and means by which these things can be prevented,” it said.