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India. SBI Seeks Vijay Mallya’s Arrest, Seizure Of Passport

Top state-run lender State Bank of India (SBI) has sought arrest of Vijay Mallya, and also impounding of his passport, as the bank approached Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) seeking action against the UB Group promoter for defaulting on loans.

State Bank of India, which heads the consortium of 17 lenders to the grounded Kingfisher Airlines, moved the Debt Recovery Tribunal in Bengaluru against the airline's chairman Mallya in its bid to recover over Rs. 7,000-crore dud loans from him.

According to sources, SBI has 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 immediate objective of the lenders moving the DRT is to secure a first right on the $75 million severance package that Mallya will be getting for quitting Diageo-owned United Spirits (USL) as its chairman last week.

An SBI official confirmed to Press Trust of India that they have moved the DRT seeking right on $75 million severance package, as the borrower Mallya who has already been declared by the bank a wilful defaulter, has decided to leave the country and settle down in London.

Mallya and Kingfisher Airlines owed Rs. 7,800 crore to a consortium of 17 lenders led by State Bank which had an exposure of over Rs. 1,600 crore to the now defunct airline.

Since January 2012, the loan was not serviced. Other lenders include Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank, Bank of India, Central Bank of India, Federal Bank, Uco Bank and Dena Bank among others. Last year, SBI declared Mallya as wilful defaulter. Last month, Punjab National Bank had also declared him, his group holding company United Breweries Holdings and the long-defunct Kingfisher Airlines as wilful defaulters.

As part of a deal, Diageo said it would pay $40 million immediately to Mallya with the balance being payable in equal installments over the next five years. It will also absolve Mallya of all liabilities over alleged financial lapses at the company founded by his family.

Last year Diageo auditors had found that Mallya had diverted Rs. 7,200 crore of United Spirits Limited (USL) funds to the airline, which was again diverted elsewhere.

The England-based Diageo is the majority shareholder of USL with a 54.78 per cent holding, excluding the 2.38 per cent owned by the USL Benefit Trust.

Mallya personally held a small stake of 0.01 per cent in USL at the end of December 2015, while his group firms owned further 3.99 per cent stake. However, more than half of these shares are pledged with banks.

The 17-member lenders consortium led by SBI has also decided to auction Kingfisher House in Mumbai on March 17 this year in a bid to recover a part of Rs. 6,963 crore debt due from Kingfisher, as lenders since January 2012 has recovered around Rs. 1,200 crore by selling pledged shares of group companies and other physical assets.

Banks are charging 15.5 per cent compounded interest on this principal amount, which has not been serviced since January, 2012.

3 Mar. 2016

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