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Nearly a decade into India’s most high profile corporate debt default, banks have recovered nearly 60% of the 9,900 crore in dues from fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya.

On Wednesday, a State Bank of India-led lenders’ consortium sold Mallya’s shares worth 5,825 crore in United Breweries Ltd (UBL) to Heineken International BV. The banks sold 14.99% in UBL through a block deal on the stock exchanges. The latest share purchase increased Heineken’s shareholding to 61.5% in UBL, the owner of India’s largest-selling Kingfisher beer brand.

India is trying to bring back Mallya, whose businesses ranged from liquor to a Formula One racing team, to face fraud charges related to the collapse of his Kingfisher Airlines in 2012, seven years after it was started. The airline owed banks 9,900 crore in unpaid loans and accrued interests. Mallya, known as “the King of Good Times" after his hard-partying lifestyle and a company tagline, is facing extradition in London.

A day earlier, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) granted Dutch brewer Heineken an exemption from an open offer with regards to the purchase of additional shares in UBL from the recovery officer of the Bangalore Debt Recovery Tribunal, under whose custody the shares owned by the Mallya group were held.

The tribunal had earlier this month approved the sale of Mallya’s shares pledged to lenders. According to the sale proclamation published on its website on 7 June, the tribunal allowed the sale of 39.6 million shares of UBL, 2.5 million shares of United Spirits Ltd and 2.2 million shares of McDowell Holdings Ltd through block deals on 23 June.

In a separate sale proclamation, the tribunal announced the sale of an additional 10 million shares of United Spirits on 25 June. Banks will also sell the remaining 147,000 UBL shares on 25 June. The share sale, the proclamation said, will help recover 6,203 crore, comprising costs and interest at 11.5% per annum applicable from June 2013 till the date of realization.

Recently, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) attached these shares and transferred them to the State Bank of India-led consortium as per an order of Prevention of Money Laundering Act Special Court in Mumbai.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Enforcement Directorate said that fugitive businessmen Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi cheated public sector banks of 22,586 crore through their companies. The Enforcement Directorate has attached assets worth 18,170 crore, or 80.45% of the alleged total loss to banks, under anti-money laundering law. A part of these assets has been transferred to the banks and the central government.

“Fugitives and economic offenders will be actively pursued; their properties attached and dues recovered. PSBs (public sector banks) have already recovered 1,357 crore by selling such shares. A total of 9,041.5 crore shall be realized by banks through sale of such attached assets," finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted on Wednesday.

The Enforcement Directorate booked the three businessmen on the basis of the complaints filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

“Investigation has also irrevocably proved that these three accused persons used dummy entities controlled by them for rotation and siphoning off the funds provided by the banks," the Enforcement Directorate said. “The investigation by the Enforcement Directorate has proved that a substantial part of these assets was held in the names of dummy entities or trusts or third persons or relatives of these accused, and these entities were proxies of these accused to hold these assets."

The agency also said extradition requests had been sent to the countries where the three accused are living. While Mallya and Modi live in London, Choksi fled to Antigua and Barbuda.

Mallya has been denied permission to file an appeal in the UK Supreme Court, which has made his extradition to India almost final, the agency said. While Modi’s extradition to India has also been cleared, Choksi is fighting a legal battle in Antigua to stop the court from sending him to India.

Both Modi and his uncle, Choksi, are wanted in the 14,500 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case.

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