New Delhi: While admitting that he has fled the country, former liquor baron Vijay Mallya on Wednesday submitted a proposal in the Supreme Court to pay Rs 4,000 crores as partial settlement of his dues to the consortium of banks led by State Bank of India.
Senior counsel C.S. Vaidyanathan, appearing for Mr Mallya and Kingfisher, made this proposal before a Bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and Rohinton Nariman. When the court asked the counsel where is Mr Mallya, Mr Vaidyanatha confirmed that he is not here and that he does not want to come home from abroad due to “surcharged atm-osphere” against him.
Mr. Vaidyanathan submitted that the proposal was a result of negotiations held with Mr Mallya through video conference on two days as late as yesterday. He said Mr Mallya’s presence may not be required as in these days everything can be done through video conferencing.
Requesting the proposal to be kept in sealed cover, he said “media hype against him vitiates public interest. The atmosphere becomes surcharged in the media if the proposal comes out.”
Justice Kurian quipped “No. Media has not vitiated the atmosphere. They want the money taken from the banks be recovered. They don’t have any other interest.”
However, the counsel replied “The atmosphere is so surcharged against me (Mr Mallya). There are cases in which media created such a surcharged atmosphere that even beatings have taken place... the less said the better.”
Senior counsel S.S. Naganand, appearing for the consortium of banks, informed the court that the proposal is for settlement of Rs 4,000 by Sept-ember this year as against the outstanding dues of over Rs 9,000 crores. He said the proposal also mentions a payment of over Rs 2,000 crore on the basis of a pending suit filed by Mr Mallya’s businesses.
When he expressed some reservations to accept the proposal, the Bench asked the banks to respond within a week. The Bench took the proposal on record and told the counsel “It is for you to tell us whether you reject this or not.”
The banks had initially moved the Debt Recovery Tribunal for the arrest of Mr Mal-laya. But the DRT had only prevented Diageo Plc from transferring any money to Mr Mallya for the time being....