Bengaluru | DRT Presiding Officer C R Benakahanahalli today said the tribunal will take up at least seven Interlocutory Applications, including three IAs filed by Kingfisher Finvest India Private Limited, for final hearing from tomorrow in the Vijay Mallya case.
During the Debt Recovery Tribunal’s proceedings post-lunch session, counsel for Kingfisher Finvest pleaded before the Presiding Officer to hear the company’s three IAs, including the ‘Lifting of Corporate Veil’, which is being heard by the tribunal after the bankers’ made the plea.
The bankers had pleaded before the DRT for ‘Lifting of Corporate Veil’ to pierce the protection against personal liability enjoyed by individuals controlling the company. The doctrine of Lifting of Corporate Veil means disregarding the corporate personality and looking behind the persons controlling the company.
In other words, where a fraudulent and dishonest use is made of the legal entity, the individuals concerned – in this case Mallya – will not be allowed to take shelter behind the corporate personality.
However, before admitting to give a final hearing on Kingfisher Finvest India’s three IAs, the Presiding Officer, argued that he would rather take up the hearing at the disposal stage of the final hearing.
The crux of the matter is the fixing of liability, which the tribunal can do at the disposal stage of the final hearing. I am not saying that I will not give a hearing on priority basis, but was making a point, he said. Counsel for Kingfisher Finvest also pleaded to hear on priority basis the IA regarding attachment of dividends that Mangalore Chemicals Fertilisers (MCF) had paid Kingfisher Finvest India.
The bankers had moved the tribunal to attach dividends that MCF had paid to Kingfisher Finvest India, which the tribunal gave an ex-party order in lenders’ favour. However, senior counsel for State Bank of India countered the submission of the company by terming it as a delaying tactic.
As soon as the proceedings started, counsel for State Bank of India pleaded: After going through the list of IAs, At least two IAs needs immediate attention for it has direct bearing on the original application. The other IAs are procedural in nature and could be heard in short time. Also other IAs are in different high courts, Supreme Court and DRAT across India, the counsel said.
Counsel said all attempts to recover dues from Mallya are being made, but he was thwarting their attempts to take over his properties by seeking adjournments in courts, and hence the Kingfisher Finvest India’s IAs could be heard at the disposal stage of the final hearing.
Also, Diageo Netherlands Holdings appealed to the presiding officer to hear their application on priority basis.
Diageo Netherlands pleaded their application relates to the pledging of shares of USL to the lenders which banks have not released. Mallya, whose now-defunct group company Kingfisher Airlines owes over Rs 9,000 crore (Rs 90 billion) to 17 banks, had left the country on March 2 and is in the UK.
ED, on June 11, had attached assets worth Rs 1,411 crore of Mallya and one of his companies in connection with its money laundering probe in the alleged IDBI bank loan default case.
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