May 9: In what comes as a big relief to the Indian consortium led by State Bank of India, the British High Court has given the nod to seize the assets of Vijay Mallya in UK. The consortium of 13 state-owned Indian banks had earlier filed a lawsuit in the UK seeking to collect $1.5 billion from the absconding businessmen.
The UK high court judge Andrew Henshaw QC pronounced the judgement in favour of the consortium, ruling that the India’s Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) judgement could be legally registered and enforced in England. The DRT judgement from January 19, 2017 stated that Mallya owed around Rs 9000 crore to the banks.
There is a risk of the value of Mallya’s assets deteriorating, and, or, being subject to claims by other creditors, and a risk of Mallya being declared bankrupt, judge Henshaw has been quoted by news reports as saying.
Mallya’s departure from India, to where he has never since returned, and his resistance to India’s application to extradite him to face trial on serious criminal charges, provide some grounds for regarding him as a fugitive from justice, he added.
Vijay Mallya, the former owner of the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, was alleged of absconding India after owing more than Rs 9,000 to Indian lenders. He left India in 2016 to visit his children, and has been staying off the Indian shores ever since. This was despite receiving multiple summons notice from India. The businessman has also managed to avoid extradition with claims that the order was politically motivated. The assets under the judgement include those of Vijay Mallya in England and Wales.