The State Bank of India on Friday said there was no leniency on its part in dealing with businessman Vijay Mallya after he defaulted on loans taken for the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, reported PTI.
“State Bank of India denies that there has been any laxity on its part or its officials in dealing with loan default cases, including Kingfisher Airlines,” it said in a statement. “The bank has been taking proactive and strong measures to recover the defaulted amounts.”
In February, the SBI was advised to approach the Supreme Court to procure an order prohibiting Mallya from travelling abroad, according to The Indian Express. But the bank chose to ignore it and moved the court only after Mallya left for the United Kingdom on March 2. Four days later, 13 banks moved the Supreme Court for an intervention to prevent him from leaving the country.
In a meeting with the bank’s management, Supreme Court lawyer Dushyant Dave said he had advised them to seek a restraining order. “The SBI chairperson and people at the top within the government knew about this meeting and the advice given by me,” Dave said. “However, there was no action taken on it.”
In an open letter written after he left India, Mallya had defended himself. He had said that the SBI and other banks had lent him money despite knowing about his company’s financial situation.
In July, SBI Managing Director Arijit Basu said that banks had already recovered about Rs 963 crore by auctioning Mallya’s assets in India. The banks are seeking to recover over Rs 10,000 crore from the fugitive liquor baron. Mallya is accused of wilfully defaulting on about $1.4 billion (Rs 9,380 crore) in loans for his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines.