The Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT), Bengaluru, on Friday directed British liquor giant Diageo Plc to submit a copy of the agreement it signed with embattled tycoon Vijay Mallya on or before May 12. The DRT also fixed June 2 as the date for commencement of final arguments in the debt recovery case filed by the SBI-led consortium of banks.
When the Tribunal commenced hearing on Friday, the Presiding Officer Justice C R Benakanahalli questioned the Diageo counsel as to why they have not furnished the copy of the agreement. In its March 7 order, the DRT had ordered for disclosing details of the agreement between Mallya and Diageo.
“We have already furnished part of the agreement in our objections filed before the DRT,” the counsel for Diageo said. A counsel for State Bank of India, however, pleaded for submission of the agreement copy by the company.
The Presiding Officer issued directions for submission of the agreement copy on or before May 12 and evidences on June 2 before it begins final hearing on the case. The DRT also directed the counsel for United Spirits to submit a copy of their agreement with Vijay Mallya separately.
The counsel for SBI requested for daily hearing in the case in view of the Supreme Court’s directions for speedy disposal of the case. While declining to hear the case on a daily basis, the judge said: “The Supreme Court wants the case to be completed at the earliest. We will take up the final arguments in the case from June 2 on priority.”
The DRT in its March 7 order had also directed for attachment of the $75 million exit payout by Diageo to Mallya.
The counsel for SBI brought to the notice of the DRT that the company had not yet attached the exit package with DRT. “Where is the money? Why have you not attached the money yet?” the DRT asked the counsel for Diageo.
Diageo’s counsel stated that the company has already paid $40 million to Mallya as part of the agreement immediately after signing the agreement and there is no question of paying the remaining $35 million immediately.
“The remaining part of the money will be paid to Mallya only after fulfilling certain conditions, if at all it has to be paid to him. As of today, nothing is due from the company to Mallya,” the counsel for Diageo told the Tribunal. On February 25, Diageo signed a settlement agreement with Vijay Mallya and agreed to pay him $75 million (around Rs515 crore) in return for his resignation as non-executive chairman of United Spirits, the company built by Mallya.
Diageo has acquired majority control in USL. Mallya had also agreed for a non-compete clause for five years across the world except the UK market.
Mallya owes around R9,000 crore including interest to a consortium of banks led by State Bank of India.