Indian banks' battle against Mallya far from over

May 10, 2018, 11:10
Indian banks' battle against Mallya far from over

The Judge refused to overturn a worldwide order freezing Mallya's assets.

In dismissing Mallya's application to disregard the plea of Indian banks in courts, the High Court has "demonstrated its willingness to recognise judgments granted by courts in other jurisdictions, giving parties opportunities to enforce their judgments against any assets held here", said Paul Gair, partner at TLT, a UK-based law firm that represented the 13 Indian banks, including in securing the freezing order on November 23 past year.

Judge Andrew Henshaw, who upheld a worldwide freeze order and ruled in favour of 13 Indian state-owned banks to recover funds amounting to almost 1.145 billion pounds in a judgment Tuesday, took note of the fact that the 62-year-old businessman is contesting his extradition to India relating to "alleged financial misconduct".

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Tuesday's judgement by the commercial court (Queen's Bench Division), dismissing Mallya's applications, is expected to enable the banks to enforce the Indian ruling against his assets in England and Wales. Gair added that this case also sets a strong precedent for parties to secure a worldwide freezing order when enforcing judgments against willful defaulters. Mallya was arrested in London previous year and is fighting another lawsuit to prevent extradition in a different court across town.

The High Court judge has also refused permission to appeal Tuesday's ruling, which leaves Mallya's lawyers with the only option of directly petitioning the UK's Court of Appeal.

With the DRT judgment in their favour the banks got an order to freeze the assets across the world of Mallya for the sake of recovering their dues.

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The case is the latest stage in long-running litigation in which the banks are seeking to recover sums lent to the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines Limited, guaranteed by Mallya. A group of 13 Indian banks led by the country's largest lender, the state-owned State Bank of India, has been trying to lay their hands on him. But the High Court of England did not disappoint them.

The prosecution, which was representing the banks, successfully argued that Mallya "willfully defaulted" on the loans in spite of his considerable financial resources. Mallya›s defence that he had no "fraudulent" intentions fell apart. The court hearing that case on April 27 accepted most of the evidence that the CBI had submitted against Mallya. It has very clearly established that the British courts are willing to give weight and importance to and respect for judgments delivered in courts of India.

The ruling by the United Kingdom court has been described as "significant" by TLT LLP, the United Kingdom law firm which represented the Indian banks in the case.

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