Over­seas Fam­ily As­sets Worth .₹ 780 Cr, Mallya In­forms Apex Court

Says he and his fam­ily are NRIs and there­fore don’t need to dis­close de­tails of for­eign as­sets

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit - Sa­man­waya.Rau­tray @times­group.com

New Delhi: Vi­jay Mallya told the Supreme Court on Thurs­day that his col­lec­tive fam­ily as­sets abroad amounted to .₹ 780 crore, but he didn’t have to dis­close de­tails of th­ese as he was a non-res­i­dent In­dian (NRI) and so were his wife and chil­dren. He also said in an af­fi­davit that no part of the over­seas wealth had been ac­quired with loans made by banks to King­fisher Air­lines, the car­rier founded by him.

Mallya, how­ever, of­fered to re­veal de­tails of the as­sets only to the top court in a sealed cover, in view of the co­er­cive mea­sures ini­ti­ated against him by the govern­ment and the En­force­ment Direc­torate. A group of 17 banks is seek­ing dues of .₹ 9,000 crore from Mallya for loans made to King­fisher Air­lines, which stopped fly­ing in 2012. He said all out­stand­ing loans due to pub­lic sec­tor banks had been “scrupu­lously used” for the busi­ness pur­poses of King­fisher Air­lines. Mallya left In­dia for the UK on March 2.

In the af­fi­davit filed by him through his lawyers in the Supreme Court, Mallya also dis­missed an­other prayer for him to re­turn to the country on the grounds that his pass­port had been sus­pended uni­lat­er­ally and ex-parte by the Min­istry of Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs with­out even is­su­ing him a show-cause no­tice. The En­force­ment Direc­torate had also ob­tained a non-bail­able war­rant against him in a “demon­stra­bly false case,” he said. The agency, which has been seek­ing to ques­tion Mallya over money laun­der­ing al­le­ga­tions, moved to get his pass­port sus­pended as the busi­ness­man hadn’t pre­sented him­self to its of­fi­cials. Mallya has sought more time from the agency.

He said in the af­fi­davit that King­fisher was a gen­uine busi­ness fail­ure and no loans had been mis­used or di­verted to amass prop­er­ties in the name of fam­ily or friends. He said his UB Group had in­fused huge sums of money into King­fisher, all of which had been lost. The de­funct air­line’s li­a­bil­i­ties amounted to .₹ 15,730.86 crore, he said.

“It is per­ti­nent to note that re­spon­dent 3 (Mallya) is a ci­ti­zen of In­dia, and has been a non-res­i­dent In­dian for In­come Tax and for­eign ex­change reg­u­la­tions from 1988,” the af­fi­davit said, adding that his chil­dren were US citizens.

His busi­nesses had paid taxes and gen­er­ated jobs, the af­fi­davit said. “The UB Group alone has con­trib­uted ap­prox­i­mately .₹ 15,000 crore per year (till March 31, 2013) to the ex­che­quer in taxes, apart from pro­vid­ing em­ploy­ment to over .₹ 25000 peo­ple.”

He said King­fisher suf­fered losses be­cause of high avi­a­tion fuel prices and a credit squeeze by banks. State-run Air In­dia has a higher li­a­bil­ity to banks, he said, but no co­er­cive mea­sures have been ini­ti­ated against it. He of­fered to de­posit a sum of .₹ 1,591 crore with the court as proof of his bona fides, to demon­strate that he was keen to set­tle his dues. He said that the to­tal dues to banks, ex­clud­ing Cen­tral Bank of In­dia, Bank of In­dia and Axis Bank, was .₹ 4,569 crore.

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