DRT questions Diageo’s delay in furnishing Vijay Mallya deal details


Bengaluru: The Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) on Friday questioned Diageo Plc about the delay in furnishing details of the $75 million severance package agreed upon between beleaguered tycoon Vijay Mallya and the company.

“In my earlier ruling as well, I had directed the company to furnish the details of the severance package… why it has not been placed before this court yet?” DRT presiding officer C.R. Benakanahalli asked the company’s counsel during the resumed hearing on applications filed by the State Bank of India-led bankers’ consortium.

SBI had filed an application for securing first right on the $75 million severance package Diageo has agreed to pay Mallya for quitting as chairman of the company-owned United Spirits Ltd (USL) under a sweetheart deal.

The other three applications sought impounding of Mallya’s passport, getting him arrested and full disclosure of his assets in the country and abroad.

Taking cognisance of delay in furnishing details of the severance package, Benakanahalli directed Diageo to submit the same by 12 May.

Benakanahalli, however, overruled the plea of the bankers to take up the matter on daily basis, saying that he would rather hear it on priority basis.

“As per the Supreme Court’s direction, I have to complete the court proceedings into the matter in two months from the date of commencement of the hearing, so I will take the matter up on priority basis, not on daily basis, as I have many other cases pending before me, which also need timely disposal,” he said.

He then posted the matter for the next hearing on 2 June.

Mallya, whose now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines owes over Rs.9,000 crore to 17 banks, left the country on 2 March and is in the UK.

The embattled tycoon, in an interview to Financial Times on Friday, said he is in a “forced exile” and has no plans to return to India where things are flying at him “fast and furious”.

Mallya, whose passport was revoked this month, said he wants a “reasonable” settlement with the banks for his defunct airline, but they “are not getting any money” by taking his passport or arresting him.