Mallya has repeatedly sought access to funds to meet his mounting legal costs, both in Britain and India.

Fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya on Wednesday lost an appeal to gain further access to court-held funds to cover his costs for legal proceedings in India. 

A High Court judge in London held that the 65-year-old had failed to provide sufficient evidence in support of the over 750,000 pounds (nearly Rs 7.7 crore) he sought.

The judge said there was no breakdown and no invoices in support of the amounts being sought. “The banks have repeatedly asked for this information and Mallya has had numerous opportunities to provide it. Mallya has not provided any details of steps that might be taken in the Indian proceedings in the foreseeable future that might have a bearing on the bankruptcy petition,” the judge said.

Mallya’s lawyer, Philip Marshal, had argued that the Indian lawyers would not continue to work unless paid. He said the cases in India were closely connected to the bankruptcy petition and if Mallya was successful in India he would potentially have defences to the bankruptcy proceedings in the UK. 

A consortium of state-owned Indian banks to whom Mallya owes £1 billion (Rs 10,800 crore), as of June 2020, are seeking to make Mallya bankrupt in Britain.

The court heard that Mallya was seeking £554,000 (Rs 5.7 crore) to pay historic legal costs to Mumbai law firm Bachubhai Munim & Co and senior counsel Amit Desai, a further £1,000 (Rs 1 lakh) to pay another Indian law firm and £203,000 (Rs 2 crore) for his estimated future legal fees in various court cases in India.

The judge said paying the Indian lawyers would mean “preferring Indian lawyers as creditors in event of Mallya being made bankrupt” whereas any proposed expenditure should be “for the benefit of the creditors as a whole”.

Mallya remains on bail in Britain, having lost a separate legal battle against extradition to India to face charges of fraud and money laundering. Meanwhile, Mallya has been fighting against being declared bankrupt in the United Kingdom and has repeatedly sought access to funds to meet his mounting legal costs, both in Britain and India.

Mallya has repeatedly denied the charges against him and offered to pay back 100% of the amount borrowed by Kingfisher Airlines, but neither the banks nor the Enforcement Directorate has been willing to accept the offer. He has also claimed that the allegations against him were related to borrowing only Rs 900 crore.

The debt sought by the banks comprises principal and interest, in addition to compound interest at a rate of 11.5% per annum from 25 June 2013. Mallya has also made applications in India to contest the compound interest charge.

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