Trouble mounts for Vijay Mallya as DRT bars him from accessing Diageo's Rs 515 cr

Trouble seems to be piling up for Vijay Mallya, the business man who owes Rs 7000 crore to 17 banks.

According to media reports trickling in, the Bengaluru debt recovery tribunal has ordered that Mallya cannot access the $75 million severance fee he has been paid by UK drinks major Diageo for stepping down from United Spirits charimanship.

The DRT has ordered that he will Diageo should not disburse the amount to Mallya until the present case filed by Sate Bank of India is disposed of. The next hearing in the case is on 28 March.

Vijay Mallya

Vijay Mallya

SBI had moved four applications at the DRT in Bangalore, seeking impounding Mallya's passport, getting him arrested, securing the lenders' first right on the payout from Diageo and getting full disclosure of his assets in the country and abroad. The move came after Mallya settled issues with Diageo after the UK company agreed to pay him $75 million (or Rs 515 crore) for stepping down from the chairmanship of United Spirits and signing a no-compete agreement for five years.

SBI heads the consortium of 17 lenders which had grounded loaned now grounded Kingfisher Airlines Rs 7,000 crore.

The objective of the lenders moving the DRT was to secure a first right on the $75 million severance package.

The news come as a fresh blow to the flamboyant tycoon. Earlier in the day the Enforcement Directorate (ED) registered a money laundering case against him and others in connection with the alleged default of over Rs 900 crore loan from IDBI Bank.

Official sources said the agency recently filed charges under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) based on an FIR registered last year by CBI in the same case. They said while the ED's zonal office here has registered the case, sleuths are also looking at the overall financial structure of the now defunct Kingfisher airlines and a separate probe under foreign exchange violation charges could also be initiated.

"Mallya and others will soon be questioned. The agency has collected relevant documents from concerned authorities and the bank in question," they said.

The ED has pressed charges under various sections of the PMLA against Mallya and others named in the CBI complaint. The CBI had booked Mallya, director of Kingfisher Airlines, the company, A Raghunathan, Chief Financial Officer of the airlines, and unknown officials of IDBI Bank in its FIR alleging that the loan was sanctioned in violation of norms regarding credit limits.

The CBI action came as part of its wide probe into criminal aspects of loans declared to be non-performing assets by public sector banks. The ED is looking into the "proceeds of crime" that would have been generated using the slush funds of the alleged loan fraud, they said.

While a DRT order is expected in this case today, ex-Kingfisher airlines employees have also gone public against Mallya and the company alleging they have been cheated of their remuneration and service benefits.

Mallya had yesterday said he is making efforts to reach a 'one-time settlement' with banks through additional payments to the lenders, even as he denied "personally" being a "borrower or judgement defaulter" and alleged that "disinformation campaign" was being played to make him a "poster boy" of all bad loans. The debt-laden airlines had stopped operations in October

With PTI

Updated Date: Mar 07, 2016 18:08 PM

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