Banks File Counter Objections to Rs 594 Crore UBHL Claim: Report


Bengaluru: A consortium of banks led by State Bank of India (SBI) on Wednesday filed counter objections against Vijay Mallya-controlled UBHL’s claim of Rs 594 crore from them for compensating the losses incurred by it due to the sale of United Spirits Ltd (USL) equity shares by lenders at a “cheaper rate”.

UBHL, in its objections filed in the Debt Recovery Tribunal here on April 5, had contended that the lenders had sold 26 lakh equity shares in USL pledged to them before maturity.

The company, in its objections, also contended the lenders’ action of selling the equity shares for Rs 1,836.94 per share, instead of a good price when the shares hit a high of Rs 4,080 per share in April last year, caused a loss to it.

Countering UBHL’s claims, the bankers sought DRT direction to ask UBHL to substantiate the claim of loss of Rs 594 crore with documents of proof and evidence.

The bankers also alleged that the Rs 594-crore claim at this point of time is a clear-cut tactic of UBHL to delay the process of justice, knowing fully well that the case is on the verge of disposal.

The bankers also filed two memos for extension of a March 7 DRT order barring Mr Mallya from withdrawing a $75 million exit payout under a Diageo Plc and USL sweetheart deal, till the disposal of SBI’s case against him over loan default.

They also filed an application seeking attachment of the sale proceedings of Mr Mallya’s private aircraft parked at the Mumbai airport by the Service Tax Department, which is going to auction it on May 12 and 13 to recover their dues estimated to be nearly Rs 535 crore.

Last month, the department had claimed in a petition to the Bombay High Court that Mr Mallya’s total disputed liability in respect of service tax was to the tune of Rs 535 crore.

It was also claimed that Mr Mallya had collected a large sum of money as service tax from flyers of the now-grounded Kingfisher Airlines on behalf of the government, but the same was not deposited in the government treasury.

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

DRT Presiding Officer C R Benakanahalli posted the matter for next hearing to April 21.