The British Court’s bankruptcy order against Indian fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya has given a new potent tool to the State Bank of India (SBI) led consortium of now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines to go after the fugitive’s assets in the United Kingdom.
But the big challenge is to identify his properties outside the UK.
“The judgment paves the way for starting the process of attaching Mallya’s properties all over the world,” says one of the 11 consortium members. Mallya, who had sought asylum in the UK, has properties in different parts of the world.
“The first step would be to identify all his assets in the UK and other countries,” says the official.
The official also admits that it is going to be a long-drawn process as different jurisdictions have different requirements. “The first task is to identify the assets, which are in his name. We will have to approach the courts of other countries with favourable Indian as well as UK judgments,” he adds.
In India, the SBI led consortium has already managed to recover a substantial loan amount after selling the shares of Mallya in the United Breweries Limited (UBL).
In June last month, the debt recovery tribunal (DRT) has sold the UBL shares in the market, which brought in close to Rs 6,000 crore. Mallya’s shares in the UBL were attached under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The 65-year-old Mallya has been accused in a banks loan default case of around Rs 9,000 crore, which also includes interest on loans.
The bankers have actually recovered much more than what they could have recovered in the insolvency and bankruptcy code (IBC).
Mallya, however, has been disputing the interest portion, which has been added by the banks on a loan of Rs 6,000 crore.
Mallya is already declared as a wilful defaulter by the lending banks. In fact, when the banks decided to move against Mallya in the DRT court way back in 2016, Mallya immediately fled the country. Two and a half years ago, Mallya was declared a fugitive economic offender under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018.