Mallya has left India, Centre informs SC
Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the consortium of banks, revealed this when asked by the apex court on Mallya’s whereabouts.
“I have checked with the CBI. He (Mallya) left the country on March 2, the day when we moved our application for impounding his passport. He has tremendous assets in UK. So in all likelihood, he should be there,” Attorney General told the bench comprising Justices Kurian Joseph and R F Nariman.
During the brief hearing, the Attorney General said that amount of more than Rs 9,000 crore was due to various banks and on one or the other pretext Mallya avoided settling them.
Meanwhile, the apex court issued notice to Mallya and sought his response within two weeks on pleas filed by a consortium of banks seeking direction for freezing his passport and his presence before the apex court. “At this stage, we will issue a notice to him. You serve notice and we will see on the next date what happens. You ask him to come,” observed the bench while posting the matter for hearing on March 30.
The bench also said that the notice to him can be served through his official Rajya Sabha Email ID, Indian High Commission at London and also through counsel representing him before various high courts, Debt Recovery Tribunal and also through his Company.
Mallya’s defunct Kingfisher Airline owes the consortium a whopping Rs 9,000 crore, including compound interest over the remaining combined loans of Rs 7,800 crore borrowed between 2004-12 before it was grounded and shut down subsequently.
Earlier on Monday, moments before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Mumbai lodged a money laundering case, the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) in Bengaluru barred British liquor giant Diageo from paying Mallya a payout of Rs 515 crore till a case against him was disposed off.
When the bench wanted to know what was the petitioner seeking, Attorney General said the banks were seeking an order that Mallya should appear in person before this court and also sought a direction for freezing his passport. He further said that Mallya has assets, both movable and immovable, abroad which are far excessive to loans secured by him here in India.
At this, the bench wanted to know how the banks had granted him loan under such circumstances. Responding to this, the Attorney General said the loans were granted keeping in mind that Kingfisher Airlines had a fleet of aircraft as well as brand value and loans were given also on the basis of the logo and the aircraft were attached to the third party.