Deepak Verma is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. He appeared as an expert witness on behalf of Vijay Mallya at the bankruptcy hearing which was held at the London high court on 18th December, Friday in order to question the legality under Indian law of the Indian banks which are pursuing a bankruptcy petition against him in the England.
A associate of 12 state-owned Indian banks and also an asset reconstruction company which purchases debt, it is led by State Bank of India. A company to whom Mallya owes £1 billion which is about Rs 10,430 crore as in the month of June 2020. He had presented a petition looking for an legal judgement of bankruptcy that was against Mallya on 11th September, 2018. The petition was later found to be an infringement of the Insolvency Act as the petitioners had failed to disclose that they held security over the assets in India which was owned by Mallya.
They also submitted an amended petition in the month of June this year. It was stating about an event of a bankruptcy that was made in London. The petitioners will give up their security over the Indian property which was owned by Mallya.
At the hearing that was held on Friday, Verma was the one who provided 4,000 documents for the evidence. He said that Indian law prevented the banks from ceasing a claim for any security that they have over Mallya’s assets back in in India since it was relating to the public money and the banks were also acting in the interest of public. Verma said that they can’t give up security in India and do a complete turnaround here. He also said that they also can’t take advantage of the laws that are in England. He said about the fact that the public money involved is important and that there is public interest as well.
The banks cannot prosecute in two places at the same time. They need to give up in one of the courts and claim their rights. Banks have already exercised their rights in the Indian courts and have realised an amount from Mallya by selling his shares and they pocketed a few thousand cores.
Philip Marshall QC who representing Mallya and who was present on the video call, said that the banks had obtained a number of favourable judgments in India on the basis of being secured creditors. He said that it is too late to give up the security as it have already gained advantages on the basis of it. He also said that they cannot unwind what has happened.
Gopala Gowda who is also one of the retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. He was appearing as an expert witness for the banks, said that he doesn’t think there is any public interest and he also doesn’t think it can be construed as public money. He said that It is the commercial interest of banks. He also argued that there was nothing in Indian law for prohibiting the banks from claiming their rights to his assets in India.
Marcia Shekerdemian QC who was representing the banks, said and asked that how Would they accept it is a matter of commercial wisdom for the bank or any financial institution to decide the concern about what it wants to do with its security? He said that he wants to see a law which says that the bank rights are set by the law rights and that it cannot be waived.
The banks claim and say that they have not been paid anything by Mallya willingly and are looking forward to make him bankrupt so that a bankruptcy trustee can go and investigate his assets which he has in the UK. Shekerdemian said that during the time something else happens it is not known why Dr Mallya has not yet been handed over to jurisdiction. He says that it seems reasonable to assume that he will be there for some time. Press reports suggests that he is seeking for the protection granted by the officials on humanitarian grounds but there has been no official confirmation about this.