New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered UB Group chairman Vijay Mallya to disclose all the assets owned in India and overseas by him and his family to the consortium of banks owed more than 9,000 crore by his Kingfisher Airlines Ltd.

“Disclosure of Mallya’s assets is of interest to the creditors and not to the court," a bench comprising justices Kurian Joseph and Rohinton Nariman said.

The judges rejected the businessman’s argument that the banks were not entitled to information about his overseas assets.

Also on Tuesday, Mallya’s counsel said his return to India was uncertain because he was concerned that he would immediately be sent to jail.

UB Group declined to comment.

On 22 April, Mallya’s counsel told the court that banks had no right to seek details of assets held by him or his family abroad on grounds that he had been a non-resident Indian for income tax and foreign exchange purposes since 1988, while his estranged wife and three children are US citizens.

Mallya stated in his affidavit that he held overseas assets worth approximately 780 crore, along with his family members, without disclosing any details.

Mallya said the assets abroad had not been taken into account in extending loans to Kingfisher Airlines, which was grounded in 2012 under the weight of heavy debt and accumulated losses.

He, however, offered to submit a list of his Indian assets in a sealed envelope to the apex court with a request to not pass the information on to banks.

The court’s order came a day after the creditors’ consortium led by State Bank of India said a full disclosure of assets by Mallya would enable them to assess his capacity to repay debt, arguing that his refusal to do so showed a lack of good faith on the businessman’s part.

Mallya’s lawyer C.S. Vaidyanathan informed the apex court that his return to India is uncertain.

Vaidyanathan said: “He fears that he might be sent straight to Tihar if he returns and that will not help anybody. Do the banks want to get their money back or send him to jail?"

Mallya left India for the UK on 2 March as creditors closed in on him after he reached a sweetheart deal with Diageo Plc under which he would receive $75 million from the liquor maker in return for stepping down as non-executive chairman of United Spirits Ltd (USL).

“The latest decision of the Supreme Court will have an adverse impact on the return of Mallya," said a senior executive at a lending firm, drawing a parallel between the Mallya case and the one involving Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy.

The person requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the case.

Subrata Roy and two directors of the group have been in Tihar jail since March 2014 for failing to repay investors who were sold securities that the capital market regulator ruled were illegal.

They haven’t been able to raise bail set at 10,000 crore by the apex court.

The apex court also directed the Bengaluru-based Debt Recovery Tribunal to hear and dispose of cases related to Mallya and Kingfisher Airlines within two months.

On 7 March, the tribunal blocked Mallya from getting his hands on the $75 million payout by Diageo, responding to an application by creditors led by State Bank of India (SBI).

The tribunal also directed London-based Diageo and its Indian unit, USL, not to disburse any money to Mallya before the case is decided.

Diageo said it had already paid Mallya the first instalment due to him.

The case will he heard by the tribunal next on 29 April.

The government’s top law officer, attorney general Mukul Rohatgi, told the Supreme Court that the government and banks will take appropriate action.

He also refused to state that the details of Mallya’s assets will not be used against him by the government or the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which is probing money-laundering allegations against the businessman.

“Obviously, the banks just want their money back. What is due to them isn’t forthcoming and they have filed a suit. It is for the courts to decide the grounds if Mallya is to be jailed," said Shriram Subramanian, founder of InGovern Research Services, a proxy advisory firm.

The court ruling comes just a day after the Rajya Sabha’s ethics committee moved to evict Mallya from the Parliament’s upper House.

On 24 April, the government revoked his diplomatic passport, given to him by virtue of being a member of Parliament, in an effort to secure his return to India.

P.R. Sanjai in Mumbai contributed to the story.

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