The United Kingdom High Court on Wednesday reserved its verdict on a petition by a group of Indian public sector banks, seeking a bankruptcy order against fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya, PTI reported. Mallya owes a consortium of 17 Indian banks, led by the State Bank of India, more than Rs 9,000 crore.
Judge Michael Briggs heard the arguments in the case from the two sides in the insolvency division of the High Court on the plea filed last year. The judgement is likely to be declared only next year, and the plea could either be dismissed or adjourn the case until the court’s decide Mallya’s latest settlement offer.
The judge hinted at seeking expert evidence on the applicability of Indian law in relation to English law in the case. “And, I thought I was going to understand the case by now,” Briggs said, according to India Today.
Amid a push for the banks to recover their loans, Mallya’s lawyer argued that Indian banks were established as secured creditors that made the bankruptcy plea in the United Kingdom court unfair. “The banks are seeking a bankruptcy order against Mallya for non-payment but have created a situation where he can’t make a payment,” said Philip Marshall, Mallya’s counsel.
The banks also refused to accept that the fugitive businessman’s claims that most of his assets were in India and not that many in locations across the world.
An earlier United Kingdom High Court judgement had refused to overturn a worldwide order freezing Mallya’s assets and upheld the Indian court’s order that the banks were entitled to recoup the loans.
The businessman fled India and moved to London in March 2016. India had submitted an extradition request to the United Kingdom in February 2017 after he made his self-imposed exile clear. The United Kingdom High Court allowed him to challenge his extradition order in June.