Kingfisher Airlines Chairman Vijay Mallya claimed privilege in the Supreme Court from divulging details of his overseas assets to banks, saying a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) is not obliged to disclose riches abroad even in “Indian income-tax returns”.
In a 41-page affidavit filed in the Supreme Court on Thursday, Mallya said his lenders have no right to seek information about his assets abroad as well as the assets of his children, who are US citizens, and those of his estranged wife, who is also an NRI.
Moreover, he argued that these assets were never considered by the banks while granting loans or restructuring the loans of Kingfisher Airlines and there was no reason to grant the banks any access to them.
He, however, revealed that the net estimated current value of the overseas assets owned by him, his wife and children aggregate to $114.5 million or around ₹780 crore. He said specific details of these assets would be handed over to the court on April 26, the next date of hearing, in a sealed envelope.
Mallya was responding to an order passed by a Bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and Rohinton Nariman to disclose assets owned by him and his family in India and abroad. In the order, passed on April 7, the Bench had also wanted to know when the businessman, believed to be abroad, would return and present himself in the Supreme Court to settle Kingfisher Airlines’ debts, which add up to ₹9,000 crore.
Centre blamed Denying that he had absconded, Mallya said the government's suspension of his passport without even hearing him and the subsequent issuance of a non-bailable warrant has in effect made void the Supreme Court’s efforts to pave the way for his return to India and work out a settlement with his lenders.
“The very basis of the April 7 order has been obliterated by the Ministry of External Affairs by suspending Vijay Mallya's passport by its letter dated April 15, 2016,” the affidavit said.
Even as probe agencies are looking into whether loan amounts advanced were siphoned off, Mallya denied that he used any of his loans to “amass properties in the names of family members or relatives or friends with any intention to defeat the process of recovery of alleged dues…”.
He said Kingfisher Airlines was a genuine commercial and business failure, “nothing more and nothing less” due to reasons beyond the control of the management.
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