Former liquor baron Vijay Mallya has said no plans to return to India as he was in a “forced exile”. The businessman said he would “like to return to India”, but added that the current dissent against him in the country made him wish to stay safe in the United Kingdom.
In an interview with British daily Financial Times, the 60-year-old said he was ready to settle the hundreds of millions he owes banks in India after the collapse of his now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, but that he wants a “reasonable” settlement. “We have always been in dialogue with banks...We wish to settle at a reasonable number that we can afford and banks can justify on the basis of settlements done before,” he said.
On the banks rejecting his proposal to pay an additional Rs 2,468 crore along with his earlier offer of Rs 4,400 crore, the multi-millionaire said they are “fearful of taking any haircut on their loans”. He added that the political climate in India was to blame for banks’ unwillingness to settle the affair. Mallya also said the electronic media in the country played a significant role “not just in moulding public opinion, but in inflaming the government to a very large extent”.
Mallya denied what he said were "preposterous charges" of money-laundering against him and nvited the government to appoint its best auditors to look into it. A non-bailable warrant has already been issued against him, and the Enforcement Directorate is investigating the case, alleging that he diverted part of a Rs 900 crore loan from IDBI Bank overseas.
The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday wrote to the High Commission of the United Kingdom in Delhi requesting for Mallya’s deportation. This was to ensure his presence in India during the investigation of the money-laundering case against him. Known as the “King of Good Times”, Mallya left the country on March 2, and on April 24, the Ministry of External Affairs revoked his passport after consulting legal experts.