‘We’ve rejected the proposal after full consideration’
With the banks outrightly rejecting two offers made by businessman Vijay Mallya towards payment of dues totally worth Rs. 9000 crore, the Supreme Court on Thursday ordered him to file an affidavit on oath disclosing all assets as on March 31, 2016 in India and abroad, not only in his name but also in those of his wife and children.
Mr. Mallya has time till April 21 to do this.
A Bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and Rohinton Nariman asked Mr. Mallya’s lawyers to get instructions from him and also indicate in the same affidavit when he would be present in the Supreme Court. The Bench agreed with the banks that Mr. Mallya’s presence in court is “necessary” for any meaningful negotiations to kick-off.
The apex court also agreed with banks that Mr. Mallya should first pay in advance a “substantial amount” of his dues as an initial payment to prove his bonafide to them. The Bench then directed him to spell out in the April 21 affidavit the amount he is willing to put on the table for negotiations to start.
Appearing for the banks, senior advocate Shyam Divan and advocate Robin Ratnakar David said though the consortium of banks led by the State Bank of India had “unanimously rejected” – first an offer of Rs. 4000 crore and then again a “slightly modified” settlement offer received on Wednesday from Mr. Mallya’s side – the financial institutions believed that the better way forward out of the quagmire would be a “negotiated settlement.”
“These are large figures involved. We think it is reasonable to ask him to make a full, fair and final disclosure of his assets. He can throw contingencies at us for making these payments. He should make a substantial advance deposit and his presence is required so that negotiations can be done person to person. Senior bank officials will also be present in the court to have an effective solution,” Mr. Divan stated the banks’ position in the court.
Senior advocate C.S. Vaidyanathan objected that disclosure of assets were made successively to the banks from 2010 to 2012.
“So now why don’t you update the assets?” Justice Nariman shot back.
When the Bench initially included not only Mr. Mallya and his wife and children but also his other “close relatives”, Mr. Vaidyanathan objected again, saying Mr. Mallya can account only for himself.
At this point, Mr. Divan pointed out that they had also wanted disclosure of assets of his “former relatives”.
“There may be an ex-wife…” Mr. Divan said.
But the court modified its order to include only Mr. Mallya’s wife and children, besides him.
The court posted the hearing for April 26 while asking the banks to file their response on Mr. Mallya’s affidavit by April 25.