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Banks eye superyachts, cars in battle with businessman Mallya

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London: Mallya says the items are held by trusts that he has no interest in, according to the banks’ filings. Mallya wasn’t represented at the hearing and didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

First, businessman Vijay Mallya faced losing his “palatial” London home, with UBS Group AG saying it wanted to foreclose. Then, a judge said he could be extradited to India. Now, banks are eyeing two superyachts and a collection of valuable cars that they believe he may own.

A group of banks — which are trying to collect more than a billion pounds ($1.3 billion) in debt from Mallya — want documents that would shed light on the “true ownership” of assets including yachts, cars and paintings, according to their court filings for a hearing Friday in London.

 

Mallya says the items are held by trusts that he has no interest in, according to the banks’ filings. Mallya wasn’t represented at the hearing and didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

The superyachts are the 95-meter (312-foot) Indian Empress and the 50-meter Force India. Force India is impounded in Southampton, southern England, and Indian Empress was sold by a Maltese court in September for 35 million euros ($40 million), which is being held by the court. According to court documents, Force India is owned by a Maltese company and the Indian Empress was owned by an Isle of Man company until its sale.

On board the Indian Empress were an “Elton John piano and high value artwork” and the banks wanted to know whether these had been removed before it was sold, they said in their filings. They didn’t provide details of the piano’s links to the singer.

There are “many very valuable assets” that are held through “a complex ownership structure comprising offshore companies and discretionary trusts,” the banks said.

Though Mallya says he has no interest in those trusts and assets, the banks said they “do not believe him” and argue that he does have an interest in the items, or “has only relatively recently divested himself of his interests to make himself judgment-proof.”

Judge Christopher Hancock adjourned the hearing , saying the case would be considered at a later date.

Enforcement officers found 27 cars — including a Mini Moke, a classic jeep model — at a property linked to Mallya in July and the banks also want more details about these, they said, noting that Mallya is “known as having a keen interest in cars.”

Mallya, 63 — a former member of parliament in India — is fighting multiple lawsuits after defaulting on bank loans. The source of Mallya’s legal problems is about $1.3 billion in loans that he took out in India for the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines Ltd., which he founded in 2005. Disputes over the loans led to civil lawsuits in India and the U.K. as well as criminal fraud charges.

“Banks have given an open licence to their lawyers in England to pursue multiple frivolous litigations against me,” Mallya tweeted on Friday, ahead of the London hearing, though he didn’t say he was referring to that case. “Who is accountable for spending public money on legal fees in such a brazen manner?”

The beer tycoon and founder of Kingfisher Airlines was dubbed the “king of good times” in India, after the tagline for Kingfisher beer. He was arrested in London in April 2017 after a consortium of banks accused him of willfully defaulting on more than 91 billion rupees ($1.3 billion) in debt accumulated by Kingfisher Airlines — a full-service carrier he founded in 2005 and shut down seven years later. A willful defaulter is someone who refuses to repay loans despite having the means to do so.


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Sensex jumps over 250 points, rupee rises 3 paise to 71.31 against US dollar

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Mumbai: The 30-share index was trading 269.24 points, or 0.76 per cent, at 35,621.85. Similarly, the 50-share NSE Nifty rose 74.40 points, or 0.70 per cent, to 10,678.75.

The Sensex had settled 145.83 points lower at 35,352.61 in the previous session, while the Nifty had fallen 36.60 points to 10,604.35.

Top gainers in the Sensex pack on Wednesday include ONGC, Vedanta, Yes Bank, Bajaj Finance, Axis Bank, Sun Pharma, L&T, Tata Steel, HDFC, Reliance and Bharti Airtel, rising up to 2.12 per cent.

 

On the other hand, HCL Tech, Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Auto and M&M were the losers, falling up to 0.76 per cent.

According to traders, investor sentiment was positive on strong buying by domestic institutional investors (DIIs).

How India responded to Imran Khan’s ‘will retaliate’ speech on Pulwama

On a net basis, DIIs were net buyers to the tune of Rs 1,163.85 crore, while foreign institutional investors sold shares worth a net of Rs 813.76 crore on Tuesday, provisional data available with BSE showed.

Investors also took cues from other Asian equities that were trading positive on hopes of a resolution to US-China trade tiff.

US President Donald Trump Tuesday said that negotiations with China on a trade deal were going very well, but refrained from committing any extension of the March 1 deadline to arrive at such an understanding. Global markets are also eyeing minutes from the US Federal Reserve, scheduled for release later in the day, for clues on key interest rates, traders said.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.50 per cent, Kospi jumped 1.17 per cent, and Japan’s Nikkei gained 0.70 per cent; while Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.15 per cent in earlytrade.

On Wall Street, Dow Jones Industrial Average ended almost flat at 25,891.32 points on Tuesday. The benchmark Brent crude futures rose 0.08 per cent to USD 66.50 per barrel.

The rupee inched up 3 paise to 71.31 against the US dollar in early trade Wednesday even as foreign fund outflows continued amid firming oil prices.

At the Interbank Foreign Exchange (forex) market, the domestic unit opened strong at 71.29 but gave up the gains to trade at 71.31. The rupee had closed at 71.34 versus the greenback Monday. Money markets were closed Tuesday on account of Chhatrapati Shivaji Jayanti.

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) remained in sell-off mode, offloading shares worth a net Rs 813.76 crore Tuesday, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) bought equities to the tune of Rs 1,163.85 crore, provisional data showed.

Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, was trading 0.14 per cent higher at USD 66.54 per barrel.

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Reliance Group stocks under pressure; tank up to 10.3% on SC move

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi: Shares of Reliance Group companies tumbled up to 10.3 per cent Wednesday after the Supreme Court held RCom chairman Anil Ambani guilty of contempt of court for willfully violating its order and not paying Rs 550 crore dues to telecom equipment maker Ericsson.

Reliance Capital tumbled 10.26 per cent, Reliance Communications tanked 9.46 per cent, Reliance Infrastructure 8.75 per cent, Reliance Power 5.52 per cent and Reliance Home Finance 5 per cent on BSE.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday held RCom chairman Anil Ambani and two others guilty of contempt of court for violating its order by not paying dues of Rs 550 crore to Ericsson, and said they faced a three-month jail term if Rs 453 crore was not paid to Ericsson in four weeks.

 

The apex court said Ambani and the others will have to purge contempt by paying Rs 453 crore to Ericsson in four weeks.

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Sops for all in Gujarat’s Interim Budget, focus on fishermen, farmers

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Gandhinagar: After presenting a surplus budget of 12,241 crore in the Assembly, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said that perks announced for various communities in the Interim Budget were part of the existing schemes of the government. He also said that he decided not to increase tax because of the jump in the state’s “own tax income”that shot up by over 11 per cent in 2017-18.

“We have increased allowances provided for various schemes that are already operational… New schemes or items can also be introduced while presenting a full budget. Whatever we have done here — for instance, widow pension, allowances of aanganwadi workers — are all part of the current schemes,” Patel, who holds the Finance portfolio, told mediapersons after presenting the budget in the House.

Sops for all in Gujarat’s Interim Budget, focus on fishermen, farmers

 

Finance Department officials said that of the total provisions made in the Interim Budget of Rs 1,91,817 crore, the government plans to spend Rs 63,939 crore in the four months, between April and July, 2019.

“The House will be able to discuss the demand for the whole year when the modified budget will be presented,” Patel said, indicating that Assembly will hold a special session after the Lok Sabha elections.

With an eye on the Koli community votes, the BJP government increased the VAT (Value Added Tax) subsidy in diesel, used in fishing boats, by Rs 3. This is expected to benefit nearly 10,600 boatmen in the state.

The government also doubled the daily livelihood allowance — from Rs 150 to Rs 300 — provided to the families of fishermen held captive in jails of Pakistan. At present, there are about 503 Indian fishermen in Pakistani custody, as per the figures shared in Lok Sabha in February 2019. Most of them are from Gujarat. The government has also decided to allot an additional 5,000 hectares of land to encourage prawn culture in the state. This land is in addition to the 7,500 hectares and will generate employment of 25,000 aqua-culturalists, said Patel in his budget speech. The government also announced setting up new fish landing centres in Valsad which has a population of 23,000 fishermen.

Explained: Govt’s attempt to keep everyone happy ahead of Lok Sabha polls

While the government did not announce any farm-loan waiver as demanded by the Opposition Congress, it announced to set up a Rs 500 crore “revolving fund” to provide crop loans at zero percent interest to farmers in the state.

Patel, however, reiterated on the floor of the House that his government will waive of Rs 691 crore of outstanding dues of 6.74 lakh farmers, poor and medium class power consumers under a one-time waiver scheme.

“The state government has decided to waive of principal and interest and penalty amount of electricity bills of all eligible domestic power connections of BPL consumers of urban areas, all agricultural power connections, power connections of all residences of rural areas, commercial power connections of small traders of rural areas,” the Deputy CM said.

Talking about the vote on account presented by the state government, Patel said, “This year, the Union Government has presented a vote on account. Therefore it is befitting that the state’s economic approach is shaped in accordance with the policies of Union of India. We have accordingly decided to present and seek vote on account for the period of four months, ie up to July 31, 2019.”

Chief Minister Vijay Rupani termed the Interim Budget “progressive and sensitive”. “This vote-on-account has been prepared and presented keeping in mind the well-being of all sections of society, be it backward communities, tribals, Dalits, youth, women and minorities. This is a progressive and sensitive budget which takes care of even the last man in the last line,” Rupani said.

Listing the schemes, he said, “This vote-on-account reflects our sensitiveness, transparency, progressiveness and decisive approach. There is something for everyone in this,” the CM said.

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