Estranged liquor baron Vijay Mallya's offer to repay Rs 4,000 crore ($600 million) as against the payable dues of Rs 9,000 crore owed by the defunct Kingfisher Airlines has been rejected by the group of lenders.
The Supreme Court has allowed Vijay Mallya time till 21 April to reply to the bankers' decision. The Court has also asked Mallya to let it know by 22 April his plans to appear before the bench.
The lenders, led by State Bank of India (SBI), have informed the Supreme Court of their decision on the offer at a hearing today.
A bench comprising Justices Kurian Joseph and R F Nariman asked Mallya and his companies to file their response by 21 April indicating how much amount they can deposit in the Supreme
Court to prove their bona fides.
After a brief hearing of 20 minutes, the bench posted the matter for further hearing on 26 April.
Kingfisher, which ceased operations in October 2012, owed the banks, mostly state-run, Rs 9,091 crore including interest and fees as of last November, the government has said.
Last week, a lawyer for Mallya told the Supreme Court that the former billionaire planned to repay Rs 4,000 crore to the banks by September, and Rs 2,000 crore more if Kingfisher wins a lawsuit seeking damages from a plane engine-maker.
Mallya, once known as the "King of Good Times", left India on March 2 as Kingfisher's creditor banks stepped up pressure on him. His whereabouts since then have not been disclosed.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has directed Vijay Mallya to disclose all his assets, and sought clarity from his counsel on his appearance in the Indian court.
Coming at a time when the banks in India are straddled with Rs 4 lakh crore NPAs, better sense has prevailed among the banks.
An earlier article in Firstpost had argued that banks should reject the proposal submitted by the liquor baron as it will set a bad precedent for other wilful defaulters.
According to Credit Information Beurau (India) Ltd, there are as many as 7,129 wilful defaulters in India and they owe about Rs 70,500 crore to various banks.
With agency inputs