A court in the United Kingdom declared Indian fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya bankrupt on Monday. This will pave the way for a consortium of Indian banks led by the State Bank of India (SBI) to pursue a worldwide freezing order to seek repayment of debt owed by Vijay Mallya’s now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines by seizing his Indian assets.
“As at 15.42 [UK time], I adjudicate Dr Mallya bankrupt,” Chief Insolvencies and Companies Court Judge Michael Briggs said during a virtual hearing of the Chancery Division of the London High Court. The Indian banks, represented by the law firm TLT LLP and barrister Marcia Shekerdemian, had argued for the bankruptcy order to be granted in favour of the Indian banks. With this order, the assets of Mallya can be seized. However, the businessman is appealing against the High Court order. Mallya, who fled India, is being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with alleged Rs 9000 crore bank fraud. The 65-year-old businessman, meanwhile, remains on bail in the UK while a ‘confidential’ legal matter, believed to be related to an asylum application, is resolved in connection with the unrelated extradition proceedings. India has been engaged in efforts for his extradition since.
The petitioners were made up of SBI-led consortium of 13 Indian banks, including Bank of Baroda, Corporation bank, Federal Bank Ltd, IDBI Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Jammu & Kashmir Bank, Punjab & Sind Bank, Punjab National Bank, State Bank of Mysore, UCO Bank, United Bank of India and JM Financial Asset Reconstruction Co. Pvt Ltd as well as an additional creditor, had been pursuing a bankruptcy order in the UK in relation to a judgment debt which stands at over GBP 1 billion.