'Probe delay in possession of Mallya's Goa villa'

Panaji: The delay by the North Goa district administration to possess beleaguered billionaire Vijay Mallya's palatial Kingfisher villa located at the upscale Candolim beach village should be probed, an independent Goa legislator said on Saturday. According to MLA Vijai Sardesai, it should be checked which official or politician ensured that the prime piece of real estate could not be taken over by banks, he said. "The delay has to be probed. It is not the opposition, but the SBI (State Bank of India) chairperson who is saying that the North Goa Collector did not follow procedure and delayed possession of the Kingfisher villa," he said.  "This government is working overtime to ensure that billionaires like Lalit Modi and Vijay Mallya flee the country," said Sardesai while addressing a press conference along with other members of the Opposition ahead of the budget session of the Goa legislative assembly that begins on Monday. SBI chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya told a national TV channel on Friday that the district collector had allegedly tried to drag the hearings related to the possession of Mallya's Goa villa, before going on leave. Speaking to IANS a senior district administration official said that the delay in hearings had been caused due to requests from the counsels representing Mallya and that the Bombay High Court had extended the date for the North Goa District Collector's order on possession of the Kingfisher villa by May 2016. "We are still within the time limit set by the High Court," the official said requesting anonymity.