New Delhi: Facing a non-bailable arrest warrant, liquor baron Vijay Mallya on Thursday told the Supreme Court that he was prepared to deposit an additional Rs 2,468 crore over and above the earlier offer of Rs 4,400 crore against the demand of Rs 9,000 crore by a consortium of banks led by State Bank of India (SBI).
Remaining silent on the court’s question about his return to India, Mallya said this was the best offer he could make given that his attempt to run Kingfisher Airlines was ruined because of high oil prices, excessive taxation and faulty aircraft engines, which together resulted in a loss of Rs 6,107 crore to him, his family, UB group and Kingfisher Finvest.
The fresh offer was being made “in the interest of overall settlement” though the validity of the corporate guarantee of UB Group and his personal guarantee was under challenge in the Bombay high court, he said.
Mallya’s three children – Siddartha, Leana and Tanya – were all US citizens, he said, adding that his estranged wife had been living in California since 1996. He said though they were not amenable to the SC’s jurisdiction, he drew up a list of properties of the entire family in India and abroad to be handed over to the SC in a sealed cover. Mallya said he claimed privilege from disclosure of his assets to banks as “these were never considered by the banks while granting loans to Kingfisher Airlines”. Vijay Mallya on Thursday told the Supreme Court that he was ready to deposit Rs 6,868 crore to a consortium of banks as settlement against a demand of Rs 9,000 crore.
Mallya said Rs 1,591 crore could be deposited upfront in the SC by selling off UB’s shares in United Spirits (Rs 660 crore), Kingfisher Finvest shares in United Spirits (Rs 243 crore) and Kingfisher Airlines’ shares in Airbus (Rs 688 crore). He said Rs 1,329 crore deposited in various cases before Karnataka HC could also be pledged.
Claiming to be an NRI, Mallya told the SC in an affidavit that “a non-resident Indian is not obliged to disclose overseas assets even in his I-T returns”. Seeking permission to file the asset details in sealed cover on April 26, Mallya said “no part of his overseas assets have been acquired from any loan or facility extended by banks to KFA”.
He said he was ready to clear the debts through a negotiated settlement but said it could not be held in a conducive atmosphere given the coercive tactics employed by the government by unilaterally suspending his passport and issuance of NBW. On KFA, he said, “From its inception, the UB group and its associates had infused large sums of money in it by way of loans, equity participation and liquidation of securities totalling to Rs 6,107 crore, all of which has been lost.”