Liquor baron Vijay Mallya is in for more trouble with the finance ministry giving the go-ahead to public sector banks to declare Kingfisher Airlines as wilful defaulter.
State Bank of India (SBI) leads a 17-member consortium of lenders trying to recover dues running into over Rs 7,500 crore in principal alone from Kingfisher Airlines. SBI has the maximum exposure of Rs 1,600 crore to the airline, which has been grounded since October 2012.
According to sources, banking secretary Gurdial Singh Sandhu on Tuesday instructed the banks to initiate the necessary action for recovering their loans from Mallya's airline and its associated companies.
Once declared a wilful defaulter, criminal proceedings can be initiated against promoters and directors of the company. Besides, they would not be allowed to raise fresh funds from banks and set up new ventures for five years.
Earlier, the government had said that some banks have initiated the process of declaring debt-ridden Kingfisher Airlines as wilful defaulter.
According to the Reserve Bank of India guidelines, it has to be proven that the borrower had diverted funds taken from the banks and not paying up despite having the capacity to pay.
As part of the recovery process, banks last February decided to sell a portion of the collateral with them, including shares of United Spirits and Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilizers, Mallya's Goa villa, Kingfisher House in Mumbai and the Kingfisher brand, which was valued at more than Rs 4,000 crore at the time it was pledged.
The banks seeking possession and sale of the property include SBI, Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India, Central Bank of India, Corporation Bank, Federal Bank, IDBI Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Punjab & Sind Bank, State Bank of Mysore, UCO Bank, and United Bank of India.