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SC to hear plea of PSU banks against Vijay Mallya on Wednesday

Vijay-Mallaya

New Delhi :The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear on Wednesday a plea filed by a consortium of 17 PSU banks seeking a direction that industrialist Vijay Mallya be restrained from leaving India.

“List it for hearing tomorrow,” a bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice U U Lalit said, when Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for PSU banks, mentioned the matter for urgent hearing.

Rohatgi said that the plea has been moved by 17 banks, including State Bank of India, against Mallya whose various firms have taken loan from them.

He also said that the dues run into thousands of crores.

The Debt Recovery Tribunal had on Monday barred Mallaya from withdrawing USD 75 million exit payment from British liquor giant Diageo till the disposal of Kingfisher Airlines’ loan default case filed by SBI.

Diageo and United Spirits Ltd, owned by the UK-based firm, have also been restrained by DRT Judge Benakanahalli from temporarily disbursing the amount to Mallya, who worked out the deal under a severance package.

The tribunal ordered that the amount be attached till the disposal of the original application filed by State Bank of India in 2013.

In his order on the plea by the SBI application seeking the lenders’ first right on the USD 75-million sweetheart deal, the judge also directed disclosure of details of the agreement which they have arrived at. Three other applications filed by SBI before the DRT will come up for hearing on March 28.

SBI, which leads the consortium of 17 banks that lent money to the grounded Kingfisher Airlines, had moved DRT here against the airline’s chairman Mallya in its bid to recover over Rs 7,000 crore of dues from him. The state-owned top lender had filed three other applications, including one seeking Mallya’s arrest and impounding of his passport, which the judge had said on March 4 would be heard later.

Mallya had to quit recently as chairman of United Spirits a company founded by his family in which he sold majority stake to Diageo.

Under the deal, that also ended a year-long boardroom battle at United Spirits, Diageo has agreed to pay Mallya USD 75 million (Rs 515 crore).

The settlement was sealed even as at least three banks including SBI declared the defunct Kingfisher Airlines, Mallya and his group holding firm UBHL (United Breweries Holding Ltd) as ‘wilful defaulters’ to recover unpaid loans.

PTI

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