The government has today confirmed that, the business tycoon Vijay Mallya has escaped the country on March 2nd leaving behind a whooping debt of Rs 9000 crores to a consortium of 17 banks. This was informed by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi in Supreme Court. The court has sought his reply within two weeks in response to a petition filed by the banks to block him from fleeing the country.
“I spoke to the CBI little while ago and it told me that on March 2 he (Mallya) left the country,” Attorney General (AG) Mukul Rohatgi told the bench comprising Justices Kurian Joseph and R F Nariman.
Since the court was informed that Mallya has already left the country, probably to UK, the bench allowed the plea of AG 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.
The AG said that amount of more than Rs 9,000 crore was due to various banks and on one or the other pretext Mallya avoided to settle them.
Rohatgi has also submitted before the court that Mallya’s assets abroad are far in excess of the loans taken by him. A rough calculation finds that domestically Mallya has more than Rs 7,000 crore of wealth. There have been various proceedings going on against him in debt recovery tribunals in Bangalore and Goa, he said.
When the bench wanted to know what the petitioner was seeking, the AG said there was a need for a garnished order and there was also a need for disclosure on behalf of Mallya. Rohatgi 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.
At this, the bench asked why loans were given to Mallya when he was already a defaulter and was facing proceedings in the court of law. To this the AG replied that 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.
Earlier media report had said that banks may have moved the court too late as Mallya may have already left India, probably with $40 million of the bounty he was supposed to receive from Diageo.