A top Supreme Court lawyer says he had an inkling that Mallya may flee India and had warned SBI.
New Delhi: Even as the Congress and BJP are battling it out on how liquor baron Vijaya Mallya had or had not met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley before fleeing India, a senior Supreme Court lawyer has claimed that SBI was sufficiently warned four days before ‘Kingfisher’ flew out of India.
Kingfisher Airlines’ largest lender State Bank of India kept silent and did not act on the legal advice it got to approach the Supreme Court seeking an order restraining Mallya’s overseas travel.
Senior Supreme Court lawyer Dushyant Dave says he offered this advice to top SBI management who had an feeling that Mallya may flee India.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Dave said the top management of SBI had met him on February 28, 2016, Sunday. In that in his meeting, he told the SBI to approach the Supreme Court on February 29, 2016, for getting an order restraining Mallya from leaving the country…”SBI chairperson and people at the top within the government knew about this meeting and the advice given by me. However, there was no action taken on it.”
“It was agreed that they would meet Monday morning to get an order from the Supreme Court restraining Mallya from leaving the country. It was a very specific advice and even as we agreed to meet next morning at 10 am (the court opens at 10:30 am), the SBI officials did not come,” said Dave.
SBI gave a standard reply to Dave’s claim. A State Bank of India spokesperson said: “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. Bank has been taking proactive and strong measures to recover the defaulted amounts.”
While the banks missed out on stopping Mallya from leaving the country, the SBI-led consortium of 17 banks finally filed a petition in the Supreme Court on March 5.