Successive court orders have refused to entertain the liquor baron’s plea to escape law; after India, he is unable to succeed in the United Kingdom, thanks to New Delhi’s diplomatic parleys with London
After a UK High Court (commercial) last month allowed the state law-enforcement officers to enter Vijay Mallya’s property and seize his assets to recover dues, SBI MD Arijit Basu said on Thursday that Indian banks were working very closely with the UK authorities to recover maximum out of the assets owned by the disgraced liquor baron.
“The High Court Enforcement Officer, including any Enforcement Agent acting under his authority, may use reasonable force to enter the Property if necessary,” the UK court order had stated in June.
“We are very happy with the court order and with this kind of order we should be able to go after his assets,” Basu told reporters here. Without mentioning a specific number, he said, adding, “We hope to recover a significant part of our money.”
The order permits the law enforcers entry to Ladywalk and Bramble Lodge in Tewin, Welwyn, where Mallya is currently based.
However, the order is not an instruction to enter the premises, which means the banks have the option to use the order as one of the means to recover an estimated amount of around £1.145 billion.
Recently, a UK High Court judge had issued an enforcement order in favour of a consortium of 13 Indian banks, too, seeking to recover funds owed to them by the beleaguered liquor baron who is fighting extradition to India on fraud and money laundering charges worth nearly Rs 9,000 crore.
Repeat legal failures of Mallya
Earlier in June, Mallya had filed an application before the Karnataka High Court for setting out his assets. This was among his several failed attempts to block the legal proceedings against him since 2014 when the same court had refused to quash the criminal cases against him.
The UK Enforcement order is a worldwide freezing order and Indian banks are looking at recovering the entire debt, Basu said, adding that banks are working very closely with the authorities and have an appointed valuer.
Stakes of Indian public sector banks
SBI is the leader of the consortium of 13 public sector banks that lent money to Mallya’s now defunct Kingfisher Airlines. These banks were State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Corporation Bank, Federal Bank Ltd, IDBI Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Jammu & Kashmir Bank, Punjab & Sind Bank, Punjab National Bank, State Bank of Mysore, UCO Bank, United Bank of India and JM Financial Asset Reconstruction Co. Pvt Ltd.
Asked about the recoveries in India, Basu said, the consortium has recovered Rs 963 crore from auction of Mallya’s Indian assets.
Trying to get ‘em, says the Indian government
Last month, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had assured the people that the demand to extradite Mallya from the UK was following the due course of bilateral procedures. “The issue is progressing through the appropriate legal channels and I spoke to the Minister of State (Rijiju) and gave him reassurances on that,” she had said.
Even earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had shared India’s displeasure at the instance of a British court questioning the condition of Indian prisons, indicating that was the concern why the judiciary of that country was averse to deport Mallya.
In the meantime, notorious jewellery and gems businessman Nirav Modi has been scouting different destinations from Hong Kong to the UK in search of a safe asylum. Under intense pursuit of the non-performing assets cases by Indian agencies, which have alerted Interpol about these fugitives, the escapee has not succeeded in his attempt to find a permanent haven.
Last Updated 3:46 PM IST