The Attorney General said the loans were granted to Mallya keeping in mind that Kingfisher Airlines had a fleet of aircraft as well as brand value.
Liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who is facing legal proceedings for allegedly defaulting loans of over Rs 9,000 crore (Rs 90 billion) from various banks, has left the country a week back, government on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court.
"I spoke to the Central Bureau of Investigation a while ago and it told me that on March 2 he (Mallya) left the country," Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the bench comprising Justices Kurian Joseph and R F Nariman.
The bench issued notice to Mallya and sought his response within two weeks on pleas filed by a consortium of banks seeking direction for freezing his passport and his presence before the apex court.
Since the court was informed that Mallya has already left the country, probably to the UK, the bench allowed the plea of AG that the notice to him can be served through his official Rajya Sabha Email ID, Indian High Commission at London and also through counsel representing him before various high courts, Debt Recovery Tribunal and also through his Company.
During the brief hearing, the AG said that amount of more than Rs 9,000 crore was due to various banks and on one or the other pretext Mallya avoided to settle them.
There have been various proceedings going on against him in debt recovery tribunals in Bengaluru and Goa, he said.
When the bench wanted to know what was the petitioner seeking, the AG said there was a need for a garnishee order and there was also a need for disclosure on behalf of Mallya.
Rohatgi said the banks were seeking an order that Mallya should appear in person before this court and also sought a direction for freezing his passport.
The AG said that Mallya has assets, both movable and immovable, abroad which are far excessive to loans secured by him here.
At this, the bench wanted to know how the banks have granted him loan under such circumstances.
The AG said the loans were granted keeping in mind that Kingfisher Airlines had a fleet of aircraft as well as brand value and loans were given also on the basis of the logo and the aircraft were attached to the third party.
Image: Vijay Mallya. Photograph: Reuters