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SBI asks SC to bar Mallya from leaving India; Court to hear plea on Wednesday

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear a plea filed by a consortium of 17 PSU banks seeking a direction that industrialist Vijay Mallya be restrained from leaving India.

The hearing of the plea is scheduled for Wednesday. “List it for hearing tomorrow,” a bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice U U Lalit said, when Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for PSU banks, mentioned the matter for urgent hearing.

Rohatgi said that the plea has been moved by 17 banks, including State Bank of India, against Mallya whose various firms have taken loan from them. He also said that the dues run into thousands of crores.

On Monday, the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) froze Mallya’s $75 million severance pay from Diageo until all the cases on him are dropped.
The money to be paid by Diageo was part of the deal put in place to make Mallya quit the board of United Spirits Ltd (USL). The DRT order came after SBI moved four applications before the DRT including one that sought his arrest and impounding of his passport.

Domestic banks led by SBI had lent Rs 7,000 crore to Mallya’s now defunct Kingfisher Airlines and are struggling to recover the money. Three banks — SBI, United Bank of India and Punjab National Bank — have declared Mallya a wilful defaulter.
Meanwhile on Monday, the Enforcement Directorate also booked Mallya under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) based on a First Information Report (FIR) filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The CBI had booked officials of IDBI along with Mallya and Kingfisher Airlines former Chief Financial Officer A Raghunathan for alleged irregularities in the loans sanctioned by the bank.

(With inputs from PTI)

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