New Delhi: In another addition to the ongoing saga of Mallya-Jaitley ‘meeting’, a lawyer has reportedly said that four days before the former liquor baron left the country, his largest lender, State Bank of India, did not act on his legal advice to approach the Supreme Court for an order restraining his overseas travel. Talking to The Indian Express, senior Supreme Court lawyer Dushyant Dave top SBI management held a meeting with him in February 2016 where he offered this advice.
Dave said it was a Sunday and he “advised SBI to approach the Supreme Court on February 29, 2016, for getting an order restraining Mallya from leaving the country…SBI chairperson and people at the top within the government knew about this meeting and the advice given by me. However, there was no action taken on it.” Mallya flew to the UK four days later. He added that SBI’s legal advisors came for the meeting along with four top officials of SBI. “It was agreed that they would meet on Monday morning to get an order from the Supreme Court restraining Mallya from leaving the country. It was a very specific advice and even as we agreed to meet next morning at 10 AM, the SBI officials did not come,” he said. (Also read: Shahzad Poonawalla Dares Rahul to Take Lie Detector Test)
In his reaction to Dave’s claim, then SBI chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya told the daily, “Mr Dave may say what he has to say. I am no longer with SBI and you may contact the present SBI management for responses.” The SBI spokesperson said, “State Bank of India denies that there has been any laxity on its part or its officials in dealing with loan default cases including Kingfisher Airlines. The bank has been taking proactive and strong measures to recover the defaulted amounts.”
On the query regarding Mallya’s meeting with Jaitley and details of an offer of settlement, Clare Montgomery, Mallya’s lawyer in the extradition case in London, said, “I am not permitted under my professional rules to make any comment about this case, either on or off the record. I am sorry to say that I cannot, therefore, respond to your query.”