Millennium Post

Mallya favours settlement, offers to repay Rs 4000 cr to banks

Facing legal proceedings for alleged default of loans worth over Rs 9,000 crores from various banks, liquor baron Vijay Mallya today expressed willingness in Supreme Court for a settlement by offering a proposal to pay back Rs 4000 crore by September this year.

The proposal submitted in a sealed envelope however covers a loan amount of Rs 6903 crore, a senior advocate appearing for the consortium of banks led by State Bank of India, said.

He said the proposal also mentions an additional amount of over Rs 2000 crore on the basis of a pending suit filed by Mallya's businesses, but did not give details of the lawsuit.

The proposal was placed jointly by Mallya and his companies - Kingfisher Airlines Ltd, United Breweries (Holdings) Ltd and Kingfisher Finvest (India) Ltd.

A bench comprising Justices Kurian Joseph and R F Nariman allowed the consortium of banks a week's time to respond to the proposal and posted the matter for further hearing on April 7.

At the outset, senior advocate C S Vaidyanathan, appearing for Kingfisher and Mallya, submitted that they have given a proposal to the consortium of banks as to what can be done under the given circumstances.

He said the copy of the proposal was given today to the consortium of banks for their consideration.

The senior advocate appearing for the banks said he would like to go through the proposal and then respond.

Vaidyanathan requested the bench that the proposal should be kept in a sealed cover for the time being, as negotiations were going on for the settlement and media hype could vitiate the atmosphere.

He said the proposal has been prepared after discussions with Mallya, currently in United Kingdom, through video conferencing.

Taking note of the submissions made by Vaidyanathan and senior advocate Parag Tripathi, who appeared for the UB Group, the bench told the consortium of banks to look into the proposal and respond. "It is for you to tell us whether you reject this or not," the bench said.

It also asked whether Mallya is back in India or not.

"Where are you? Are you back in India," the judges asked the counsel, who said Mallya was still abroad and he had a video conferencing with him yesterday.

"Media has vitiated the atmosphere. The atmosphere is so surcharged against me. There are cases in which media created such a surcharged atmosphere that even beatings have taken place... the less said the better," Vaidyanathan said.

However, the bench said "media ultimately stands for the public interest. They just want the money taken from the banks to be brought back.
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