The SBI chief, Arundhati Bhattacharya, has made a sensational revelation that the administration under Goa’s BJP government had prevented the bank from taking possession of the liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s assets in Goa.
Mallya, who own a posh villa close to Goa’s capital, Panaji, had given a guarantee to the public lender about his assets.
Bhattacharya told NDTV’s Walk The Talk show (to be broadcast on 11 March) that the district magistrate (an IAS officer) refused to execute the High Court’s order to take possession of Mallya’s villa.
She said, “We had been trying to get the possession of (Vijay Mallya’s) Goa villa. And in spite of the fact that the High Court had passed an order that it should be done in three months, the order, when given to the collector ( to execute), the collector, in turned, held eight hearings and then went on leave.So we couldn’t get the order (executed). Normally the collectors are supposed to take possession without hearing. But this person had eight hearings.”
Bhattachrya also said that the lenders had approached the Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who advised the banks not to approach the highest court (Supreme Court) and instead approach the Debt Recovery Tribunal, which ‘didn’t give any relief’ to banks.
“Next day we went to the High Court. The High Court once again sent us back to the DRT. But the DRT again did not give us the relief we are asking for. We wanted his assets under oath.”
Assets under oath are those when one has to declare everything that he/she owns under oath. It was required because Mallya had given a personal guarantee about his assets
Bhattacharya explained that banks usually asked for personal guarantee to ensure that, in the event, the businesses went in distress and the clients still expected banks to advance the payment, their declared assets could be used to offset any future losses.
Bhattacharya said that bankers were like your family doctors. always ready to help business in distress.
“Just like when the patient is in pain we don’t send them to crematorium. We put them in hospital and try and resuscitate,” she added.
She was also pained that the CBI and the public lender had not worked in collaboration while taking corrective action against Mallya.
She said, “Today it appears that (both the CBI and the SBI) are adversaries. We are not. We are on the same sside of the table. If we can collaborate, we can ensure that the crimes do come down.”