Mumbai: Central Bureau of Investigation today pulled up state run banks for not registering with the investigating agency any complaint against Vijay Mallya-led Kingfisher Airlines and its earlier management despite the company's default of Rs 7,000 crore.
"Despite our repeated requests, banks did not file complaint with CBI, we had to register the complaint on our own initiatives," CBI chief Anil Sinha said at a bankers' conference here.
Sinha said while the banks loaned money to Kingfisher from 2004 to 2012, the CBI registered a case suo motu against the company only in July 2015.
Warning that non-payment of loans by big borrowers will erode people's faith in the law, the CBI today blasted lenders for not coming forward with a complaint in the Kingfisher Airlines “fraud”, saying the delay helped the company “divert funds and destroy evidence”.
"The undue delay had jeopardised cause of justice to offenders,giving them benefit &opportunity to divert funds &destroy evidences,"he added.
Sinha's reaction has come after top state-run lender SBI has sought arrest of Vijay Mallya, and also impounding of his passport, as the bank approached Debt Recovery Tribunal seeking action against the UB Group promoter for defaulting on loans.
State Bank of India (SBI), that heads the consortium of 17 lenders to the grounded Kingfisher Airlines, moved the Debt Recovery Tribunal in Bengaluru against the airline's chairman Mallya in its bid to recover over Rs 7,000-crore dud loans from him.
According to sources, SBI has moved four applications at the DRT in Bangalore, seeking impounding Mallya's passport, getting him arrested, securing the lenders' first right on the payout from Diageo and getting full disclosure of his assets in the country and abroad.
The immediate objective of the lenders moving the DRT is to secure a first right on the USD 75-million severance package that Mallya will be getting for quitting Diageo-owned United Spirits (USL) as its chairman last week. An SBI official confirmed to PTI that they have moved the DRT seeking right on USD 75 million severance package, as the borrower Mallya who has already been declared by the bank a wilful defaulter, has decided to leave the country and settle down in London.
Mallya and Kingfisher Airlines owed Rs 7,800 crore to a consortium of 17 lenders led by State Bank which had an exposure of over Rs 1,600 crore to the now defunct airline. Since January 2012, the loan was not serviced. Other lenders include Punjab National Bank , Bank of Baroda , Canara Bank , Bank of India , Central Bank of India , Federal Bank , Uco Bank and Dena Bank among others. Last year, SBI declared Mallya as wilful defaulter.
Last month, Punjab National Bank had also declared him, his group holding company United Breweries Holdings and the long-defunct Kingfisher Airlines as wilful defaulters. As part of a deal, Diageo said it would pay USD 40 million immediately to Mallya with the balance being payable in equal installments over the next five years. It will also absolve Mallya of all liabilities over alleged financial lapses at the company founded by his family.