A consortium of banks has asked the Supreme Court to issue an arrest warrant against UB Group chairman Vijay Mallya for contempt of court.
“Mallya is actually experimenting with the court because he is ensconced in the United Kingdom which he possibly considers safe enough to defy the orders of the court,” the banks said in an affidavit filed before the apex court on Thursday.
The affidavit was in response to Mallya’s plea seeking the recall of an order issuing notice to him on the contempt plea filed by the government. On 14 July, the government and the banks sought to file a case of contempt of court against Mallya. Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi had told the court that Mallya had defied court orders by not disclosing his assets properly.
On 25 July, the court issued a contempt notice against Mallya in this connection.
The banks and the government have repeatedly insisted on a personal appearance by Mallya in previous hearings. Instead of replying to the contempt plea, Mallya sought a recall of the notice issued against him.
A bench comprising justices Kurian Joseph and Rohinton F. Nariman had earlier said that it would consider the issue, including aspects of Mallya’s appearance in court and the contempt notice.
“The tenor of Mallya’s application does not have an iota of apology and is a mere ruse to circumvent the law. By not denying the existence of bank accounts held in Geneva and not disclosing this in his list of foreign assets disclosed to the court, he has willfully concealed information,” stated the affidavit, a copy of which Mint has reviewed.
The banks’ contempt petition said that Mallya and his company, Kingfisher Airlines, have tried to sell assets to defeat the proceedings initiated against them before a debt recovery tribunal in Bengaluru.
In April, the apex court directed Mallya to disclose all the assets held by him and his family, after the consortium of creditors spurned his offer to repay Rs.4,000 crore to settle the debt of Kingfisher Airlines. He later agreed to disclose a list of assets held by him in India in a sealed envelope to the Supreme Court and requested it to not hand this information to banks.
The banks had moved the debt recovery tribunal against Kingfisher Airlines Ltd in 2013 for defaulting on loans. The consortium of 17 banks is owed a combined Rs.9,091 crore by the defunct Kingfisher Airlines. The banks have informed the court that they were willing to negotiate a settlement. In a 13 March statement, Mallya claimed that banks had already recovered Rs.2,494 crore from Kingfisher Airlines since 2013.