A UK court on Monday declared fugitive Indian businessman Vijay Mallya, the chairman of now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, as "bankrupt".
The UK court order comes as a massive boost for the consortium of banks led by the State Bank of India (SBI) to initiate freezing of assets owned by Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines, both in India and abroad, to repay its debt.
Mallya is wanted in India for Rs 9,000 crore loan defraud. "As at 15.42 (UK time), I adjudicate Dr Mallya bankrupt," Chief Insolvencies and Companies Court Judge Michael Briggs said during a virtual hearing of the Chancery Division of the London High Court.
The consortium of banks led by SBI had argued for the bankruptcy order to be granted in their favour. The Indian banks were represented by the law firm TLT LLP and barrister Marcia Shekerdemian.
Mallya is currently out on bail in the UK while a "confidential" legal matter, believed to be related to an asylum application, is being resolved in connection with the unrelated extradition proceedings.
In May, Vijay Mallya had asked the government to accept his offer to repay 100 per cent of his loan dues and close case against him involving unpaid loans worth Rs 9,000 crore.
Mallya, promoter of the defunct Kingfisher Airlines, said: "Please take my money unconditionally and close." Early last month, he had filed an appeal in the UK Supreme Court after losing an appeal in the London High Court against an extradition order to India on alleged charges of fraud and money laundering related to unrecovered loans to Kingfisher Airlines.
In the past, Mallya had tweeted that he had offered to pay 100 per cent of the amount borrowed by Kingfisher Airlines to the banks but neither banks were willing to take the money nor the Enforcement Directorate was willing to release his attached assets at the behest of the banks.