Vijay Mallya's house aka the party hotspot of Goa, Kingfisher Villa, has in a surprise move produced a "villa manager" as its caretaker in charge, bankers told Financial Express. The presence of this manager will now complicate matters for bankers, who have been trying to take possession of the property.
The house was leased by United Spirits Ltd (USL) from the lessor United Breweries Holdings (UBHL). At a later date, UBHL mortgaged the villa as collateral for loans given to Kingfisher Airlines. Now with a manager, tenant USL will have the first right to buy the Rs. 90-crore property, frustrating any efforts by banks to auction it, said the Economic Times.
"The villa manager has appeared out of nowhere more than a year after the North Goa district collector started hearing the case," a banker told FE. The lender banks' consortium has sought permission to take possession of the villa under the securitisation law (Sarfaesi Act). The next round of hearings is slated for May 9 and 10, and an order is expected to be out on May 12.
The Portuguese Civil Code of 1867, which USL had cited when producing the manager, is still applicable in Goa when it comes to property issues and marriages. Proving tenancy will strengthen USL's case, noted the banker.
The manager, though an employee of UBHL, has reportedly been running the show at the villa for a long time. USL has also produced electricity and water bills for 11 years to prove its tenancy there. Lawyers of the lender banks' consortium have begun the manager's cross examination.
Kingfisher Airlines' loan default of approximately Rs. 7,000 crore had prompted the Goa Bench of the Bombay High Court to give a nod to the consortium to take possession of Kingfisher Villa and auction it to recover their dues.