Promoter of the famous S Kumars and Reid & Taylor has been prevented from going abroad as he owes Rs 6,500 crore to banks.
Stung by liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s flight to UK, leaving banks in the lurch, the High Court of Karnataka has turned down the request of Nitin Shambu Kumar Kasliwal to release his passport as the companies promoted by him owe nearly Rs 6,500 crore to banks.
The top businessman is the promoter of companies including S Kumars apparels and the top end Reid & Taylor of which Amitabh Bachchan was once its brand ambassador.
The slew of banks to whom Kasliwal owes huge money include IDBI Bank, according to a report in Bangalore Mirror.
The banks reminded the High Court of how a Kingfisher flew off to the United Kingdom, leaving behind a huge debt and hapless banks.
They told the court that allowing Kasliwal to travel abroad is fraught with tremendous financial risks.
The IDBI had declared Kasliwal as willful defaulter and he earned the dubious distinction of being India’s first big businessman whose photo was published by UCO Bank in a move to `name and shame’ loan defaulters.
The Debts Recovery Tribunal (DRT) in Benglauru had passed an order on December 21, 2016, to seize his passport. This followed cases filed by IDBI, Punjab National Bank, Union Bank of India, Central Bank of India, Jammu & Kashmir Bank and Indian Bank.
Like Mallya, Kasliwal did not take the loans personally, but through his companies SKNL, RTIL and BHRL.
Kasliwal’s advocate argued that his client runs two factories and employs 3,000 employees. He has to go abroad “to attend to his extremely compelling business requirements“.
But the court was not impressed. The bank told the court that the total exposure of all the lenders to the companies run by Kasliwal was Rs 6,494 crore as on July 1, 2015. Moreover, recovery proceedings have already commenced and allowing Kasliwal to go abroad is risky.
S Kumars was once a famous brand. Then came Reid & Taylor that catered to the top end luxury market. It was in 1998 that the company introduced the 175-year-old Scottish brand in India. The apparels were manufactured in Mysuru and Madhya Pradesh.
As the brands were lapped up by consumers, Kasliwal’s company took huge loans for expansion. But soon came the economic slowdown and consumers slashed luxury spends sending S Kumars, Reid & Taylor into the red.