Supreme Court Tells Fraudster Vijay Mallya To Disclose His Overseas Assets

NEW DELHI – The Supreme Court on Tuesday prima facie held liquor baron Vijay Mallya guilty of trying to hide his assets and directed him to disclose in four weeks complete details of his overseas holdings and demonstrate his intention to repay bank loans of more than Rs 9,000 crore.

A Bench comprising Justices Kurian Joseph and Rohinton Nariman passed the order after Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the consortium of banks led by the State Bank of India, pleaded for taking action against Mallya for committing contempt of court by not disclosing details of his assets in full.

Rohatgi said Mallya had not disclosed US$ 40 million received from Diageo, a liquor firm based in Britain, on February 25, 2016, by selling one of his companies. The defaulter, who had since fled to Britain, had given only vague information about his assets in foreign countries, the AG said.

Arguing for Mallya, senior counsel CS Vaidyanathan, however, said his client did not mention the receipt of 40 million dollars in his response to the court notice on the contempt petition by the banks as the Bench had asked him to disclose only the assets and liabilities, not revenue and expenditure.

Unconvinced, the Bench said Mallya was not getting the spirit of the court order. Since he was facing charges of contempt of court he should have come clean, disclosing the details of assets in full, instead of finding excuses to withhold information.

Rohatgi said Mallya was trying to deceive the court and the banks by playing tricks on the Bench.

In its order, the Bench asked Mallya to file a detailed statement on his overseas bank accounts and other assets with full particulars, the way he had disclosed his holdings within India.

The Bench posted the next hearing for November 24.

In April, Supreme Court had asked him to declare all his assets — movable, immovable, shares, tangible or intangible — and that of his wife and children, his date of return from the UK and the amount he was willing to pay immediately as repayment of the bank loans taken by his companies — the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, United Breweries and Kingfisher Finvest (India) Ltd.

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