New Delhi, Aug 27 (IANS) Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on Thursday informed the Supreme Court that court proceedings connected with winding-up of United Breweries (Holding) Ltd are being misused by former liquor baron Vijay Mallya in the extradition case, by claiming some settlement talks are on.
Mehta was representing the banks’ consortium led by the State Bank of India before a bench comprising Justices U.U. Lalit and Vineet Saran, which took up the appeal by the parent company of the UB Group.
During the hearing, Mehta repeatedly called Mallya a fugitive and insisted that he does not deserve indulgence of the top court.
The bench pointed out that Mehta is appearing for the banks and not for the government.
The bench told Mehta it is not PMLA proceedings and he is before the court representing the banks. Mehta replied that he was aware of it and in the matters of national interest his duty would not diminish, because he was appearing for the banks.
The top court was hearing a petition filed by Mallya’s United Breweries challenging the decision of the Karnataka High Court upholding the order to wind up the company.
The top court queried Mehta whether a company’s assets, which have been attached by the authorities concerned could be considered for liquidation to settle dues and debt.
The bench insisted why should it not be a matter of examination when a person claims his assets are greater than liabilities. Mehta contended before the top court that these court proceedings are being used by Mallya in the extradition case.
The bench queried Mehta in the absence of conviction as on date, the assets are only attached and not confiscated. “So, the question remains, why could not they be considered,” asked the bench. Mehta reiterated that the court is dealing with a fugitive.
The bench replied that the court is dealing with the company in this case and not the person. Mehta replied that Mallya is the man behind the company and he cannot forget the nation’s interest. The bench reiterated that Mehta is appearing for banks and not the government. The bench, citing Mehta’s submission, said, “better wear two hats…both hats. Only one hat won’t do.”
The bench also asked Mehta to get specific instructions why attached assets could not be considered on the point of computation.
The top court asked Mehta to satisfy it that when banks themselves are in appeal challenging the attachment orders, then why shouldn’t it be examined, what did he have to say?
The top court has posted the matter for further hearing after two weeks.
In February 2018, the winding up order was passed as the company failed to pay admitted liabilities to unsecured and secured creditors, which included banks.