The Supreme Court today pulled up business tycoon Vijay Mallya for not making full disclosure of his foreign assets and gave him a last chance to do so by November 24.
A bench of justice Kurien Joseph and Justice Rohinton F Nariman directed Mallya to give “all details of assets” by that date.
“We are prima facie of view that Respondent no. 1 (Mallya) has not made proper disclosure of assets as per our order, his response is vague”, said the bench
The bench was specifically angry that Mallya had not disclosed what he did with 40 million US dollar received from Diageo. This aspect came up for discussion after Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi who represents the consortium of 17 banks led by State Bank of India told the court that Mallya has “stashed away money in Swiss bank”.
“We dont find answer from your reply on 40 million dollar. We are not happy with the way you filed the statement”, the bench told Mallya’s lawyer.
On August 29, the court had directed the consortium of 17 banks led by the State Bank of India which have initiated loan recovery proceedings against Mallya, to respond to his plea seeking the recall of the notice of contempt for allegedly not making full disclosure of all the assets owned by him and his family as directed by the top court earlier.
Arguing for Mallya, advocate Mahesh Agarwal had said the liquor baron has contended that the disclosure of the assets was for the settlement of outstanding dues with the banks, and since no settlement was taking place he was not obliged to make disclosure and consequently there was no contempt. But the court has now disagreed with the argument.
The court upheld Rohatgi’s argument that Mallya’s plea could not be entertained as he has failed to make a personal appearance before the court in pursuance to the contempt notice.
It was on July 29 that the Supreme Court issued notice to Mallya on a petition filed by the banks consortium seeking initiation of contempt of court proceedings against him for non-disclosure of his assets despite a specific order from the bench three months ago.
On April 29 the bench had directed Mallya to disclose all assets held by him and his family, after the consortium rejected his offer to repay Rs. 4,000 crore to settle the debts of the grounded Kingfisher Airlines.
Mallya, who has skipped the country and is currently in UK, later agreed to disclose a list of assets held by him in India to the apex court in a sealed envelope.
AG has been consistently maintaining that Mallya has not been forthcoming about his assets.
On April 29, the court also sternly told Mallya that he cannot claim immunity from disclosure of his assets and those of his family in India and abroad to consortium of banks on the ground that he was an Non Resident Indian since 1988.
“We don't find any tangible objection in disclosing the assets (of Mallya, his wife and children) to banks”, the bench had said.
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