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
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.