State Bank of India (SBI) on Thursday said it has used all available resources in attempts to recover loans taken out by Kingfisher Airlines Ltd, claiming there has been no laxity on its part.

“We reaffirm that our bank moved very promptly on taking the appropriate legal steps required to protect banks’ interest and public money," India’s largest lender said in a statement.

“Banks and in particular State Bank of India has taken all prompt actions in getting reliefs as required and there was no laxity on the part of the banks in seeking appropriate reliefs and it did all that was possible at its command," the statement added.

SBI said the media has been portraying the bank unfairly as having been lax in its dealings with liquor baron Vijay Mallya and the Kingfisher Airlines loan default case.

“As leader of the consortium, we strongly deny the media reports which appear to be based on hearsay and conjecture without any reference to the factual position in the matter," SBI said.

Vijay Mallya, founder and chairman of the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines, owes a consortium of 17 banks 7,000 crore. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi has told the Supreme Court that Mallya left India on 2 March.

In an open letter that was written on Sunday, Mallya too blamed the media for running what he called a hysterical campaign against him.

SBI in its statement said that on 26 February, when news regarding a $75 million settlement between Diageo Plc, United Spirits Ltd and Mallya surfaced, the bank had already moved the debt recovery tribunal (DRT) in Bengaluru to address the matter. The tribunal then moved the hearing to 29 February, since it was a Monday, the statement said.

“As senior advocates had advised that it will not be possible to directly approach the Supreme Court for seeking reliefs in respect of the deal, State Bank of India additionally filed four applications in DRT Bengaluru seeking various reliefs," SBI said.

Since the bank did not get any relief from the DRT after a hearing on 2 March, SBI filed a writ petition with the Karnataka High Court on 4 March. Following this, the bank also filed a special leave petition with the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice to Mallya over a plea seeking to stop him from leaving the country, which is when Rohatgi, representing the consortium of 17 banks, informed the court that, according to the Central Bureau of Investigation, Mallya had left the country on 2 March. He is likely in London, Rohatgi added.

“In this matter the consortium of banks are currently fighting more than 20 cases in various Courts including DRT from June 2013 and number of hearings held are in excess of 500 with more than 180 adjournments," SBI said in its statement.

Creditors and enforcement agencies, including the Enforcement Directorate that has launched a money laundering probe against Mallya, targeted the UB Group chairman after Diageo Plc. said on 26 February that it had agreed to pay him $75 million in return for resigning as chairman of United Spirits Ltd, which it had acquired from the Indian businessman in July 2015.