Coming down heavily on United Breweries chairman Vijay Mallya for failing to make proper disclosure of his assets, the Supreme Court on Tuesday gave him one more chance to give complete details of his overseas assets till date, particularly the $40 million he had received towards the $75-million payout package with London-based liquor major Diageo in February.
A bench of justices Kurian Joseph and RF Nariman observed: “We don’t find answer from your reply on $40 million. We are not happy with the way you filed the statement. This $40 million must find a place in your accounts. This is $40 million gone in just 40 days.”
“We are prima facie of the view that Mallya has not made a proper disclosure in respect of our order of April 7, 2016 that asked him to make complete disclosure of assets in India and abroad,” it said.
Mallya is “directed to make complete disclosure of all properties and in particular receipt of $40 million as to when it was received, when was it deposited and how it has been dealt with up to date,” the bench said.
It also asked the liquor baron to make the disclosure of assets with full details — their worth, their locations and the forms in which they are — as he had done in case of his assets in India in four weeks. The bench then posted the matter for further hearing on November 24.
Mallya had received a payment of $40 million out of a total $75-million package from Diageo following his resignation as chairman of United Spirits in February 2016.
Mallya, through senior counsel CS Vaidyanathan, argued that the court’s order has been complied with. “The $40 million cash in hand was already spent and did not exist on the date of disclosure,” he added.
In April, the top court had directed Mallya to disclose all assets held by him and his family after a consortium of creditors rejected his offer to repay R4,000 crore to settle the debts of the grounded Kingfisher Airlines (KAL).
A consortium of 17 banks led by SBI is seeking recovery of over R9,000-crore dues from the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines. Mallya had pegged domestic assets at R2,014.60 crore and overseas assets worth R780 crore.
The consortium has accused Mallya of deliberately not making full disclosure of his assets. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said a disclosure statement of assets submitted by Mallya in April does not contain a “whisper” about the details, forms and locations of his assets. The banks urged that this action of “deliberate” concealment went against the very letter and spirit of the court’s direction to Mallya to disclose all his assets.
The banks submitted that Diageo itself had on February 28 apprised the Debt Recovery Tribunal about the payment on February 25. However, the disclosure statement filed by Mallya of assets in his possession as on March 31, 2016, had not reflected this transaction of $40 million.