More than a month after he secretly flew to London, the Supreme Court (SC) asked businessman Vijay Mallya, facing proceedings initiated by a consortium of 17 banks led by State Bank of India for recovery of loans worth Rs 9,000 crore, on Thursday as to when he will appear before it. The query came soon after the consortium rejected Mallya's two proposals for repayment of the dues as "unacceptable".
Significantly, the court on the request of the banks ordered the liquor baron to disclose all assets-movable, immovable tangible, intangible, share holdings, interests in fiduciary capacity in various trusts, all other rights and liabilities- as on March 31, 2016, in India and abroad, not only in his name but also in those of his wife and children, by April 21.
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When the Bench initially included not only Mallya and his wife and children's assets but also his other "close relatives" on the request of banks, his lawyer C S Vaidyanathan objected saying Mallya can account only for himself. At this point, Shyam Divan, the lawyer for the banks, pointed out that they had also wanted disclosure of assets of his "former relatives".
"There may be ex-wives …" Divan said. After informing the court that it had rejected Mallya's earlier proposal to pay back Rs 4,000 crore by September 15 which had several "conditions apply" and another slightly more-modified offer, Divan told the court, "His coming could accelerate the process tremendously and may help a resolution rather than various correspondences and video conferencing sessions."
Following it, the Bench, comprising Justices Kurian Joseph and R F Nariman, noted down in its order, "The banks say for any meaningful negotiation instead of mere correspondence, the respondent's presence is necessary. Respondents (Mallya's) When is the return flight Mr Mallya?
lawyer prays for a short time to respond to the matter. By the next date of hearing, that is April 26, the lawyer for the respondent shall obtain instruction as to when he can appear in person before this court."
The Bench added that Mallya's response should also state the amount he is willing to deposit in the court to indicate his willingness for a negotiated settlement and to show his bonafides. "Though the two proposals till now have been rejected, the financial institutions believe that the better way forward out of the quagmire would be a negotiated settlement," Divan told the court.
"These are large figures involved. We think it is reasonable to ask him to make a full, fair and final disclosure of his assets. He cannot put any contingencies at us for making these payments … He should make a substantial advance deposit and his presence is required so that negotiations can be done person to person.
Senior bank officials will also be present in the court to have an effective solution," Divan added.
Meanwhile, the North Goa administration resumed hearing on an application filed by the consortium seeking to seize Kingfisher Villa, which is owned by Mallya.