A consortium of Indian banks headed by State Bank of India (SBI) on Friday sought to declare fugitive Vijay Mallya bankrupt during a hearing in the London High Court. Mallya owes thousands of crores of rupees in arrears to his defunct Kingfisher airline. A virtual hearing was held before Justice Michael Briggs of the Insolvency and Companies Court. Justice Briggs said he would hear the final arguments and give a verdict in due course next week. Indian banks say they have the right to waive the security provided on Mallya’s assets in India in this case. After leaving the security, the bank can also recover the debt with the help of Mallya’s assets in London. A decision in this case could come in a few weeks. The Indian government is demanding Mallya’s extradition to Britain in a fraud and money laundering case. Mallya owes more than Rs 2,000 crore to Indian banks.
Fugitive Vijay Mallya’s lawyer said that the arrears on Mallya are public money. In that case, the bank cannot declare Mallya bankrupt. Mallya claimed that the application made by the banks to declare him bankrupt was not within the purview of the law. Mallya said the money he received as a loan was public money. Mallya’s lawyer Philip Marshall argued before the court that “the money of government banks in India is not private but public property. Banks do not have the right to waive securities. ‘
Twelve Indian financial institutions, led by SBI, have filed for bankruptcy in Mallya. These include Bank of Baroda, Corporation Bank, Federal Bank, IDBI Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Jammu and Kashmir Bank, Punjab and Sind Bank, Punjab National Bank, State Bank of Mysore, UCO Bank, United Bank of India and JM Financial. Pvt.
VR Sunil Gohil