Mallya’s ding-dong battle continues with banks

Justices Kurian Joseph and Rohinton Fali Nariman give 10 days’ time to the banks to file their response and one week to Mallya to file his rejoinder. The next hearing on September 27

New Delhi : A ding-dong battle continues between beleaguered liquor baron Vijay Mallya holed up in London and a consortium of public sector banks led by the State Bank of India on recovery of loans  extended to him for his erstwhile Kingfisher Airlines he shut down over two-years-ago.

 On Monday, he sought recall of a contempt notice issued against him by the Supreme Court in May on the banks’ plea that he did not make full disclosure of all the assets owned by him and his family as directed by the court.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi on the other head sought rejection of his application since he did not appear in person before the court as mandatory in case of the contempt.

The Bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and Rohinton Fali Nariman gave time to both, 10 days to the banks to file its response and one week to Mallya to file his rejoinder after the banks give response, fixing the next hearing on September 27.

A batch of lawyers appearing for Mallya pleaded that there was no contempt on his part since no settlement of outstanding dues of the banks was taking place, for which the disclosure of the assets was sought.

The hearing on Monday was confined to the consortium of 17 banks seeking contempt proceedings in the Rs 9,000-crore loan default case relating to Kingfisher Airlines. The Supreme Court had last month agreed to hear a contempt plea filed by the State Bank of India-led consortium against Mallya on the ground that Mallya has not been candid with the court regarding his assets, citing the failure to disclose the severance package he received from Diageo Plc as part of his exit from United Spirits Ltd.

After Vijay Mallya resigned from the Board of United Spirits Ltd. on February 25, the company informed the Bombay Stock Exchange that Mallya would be paid $70 million (approximately Rs 515 crore), out of which $40 million would be paid upfront.

The court on April 7 had directed Mallya to disclose by April 21 the total assets owned by him and his family in India and abroad while seeking an indication from him when he would appear before it.

It also asked Mallya to deposit a “substantial amount” with it to “prove his bonafide” that he was “serious” about meaningful negotiations and settlement.

The banks’ petition alleged that “contemnor (Vijay Mallya) has not disclosed specific details of all his properties – movable, immovable, tangible, intangible, share holdings and any right, title or interest including beneficial interest and those held in fiduciary capacity, in private trusts, public trusts, companies, partnerships, limited liability partnerships, and/or any other entity/ies both in India and abroad on March 31, 2016.”

The court fixed hearing on September 27, after both sides respond to each other, on whether Mallya, who has already been declared a proclaimed offender by an anti-money laundering court in Mumbai, should be booked for contempt and summoned for personal appearance.

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