Businessman Vijay Mallya criticised the Indian media on Wednesday for calling him a loan defaulter and “humbly requested” various banks to take back all the money he had borrowed to keep his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines in business.
Mallya, who has been in the United Kingdom since 2016, is accused of cheating banks of Rs 9,000 crore and is facing a number of lawsuits in the United Kingdom and India related to fraud and money laundering allegations, apart from an extradition trial too.
“For three decades running India’s largest alcoholic beverage group, we contributed thousands of crores to the state exchequers,” Mallya tweeted. “Kingfisher Airlines also contributed handsomely to the states. Sad loss of the finest airline but still I offer to pay banks, so no loss. Please take it.”
He claimed that the money taken from the banks was channelled into the airline, which was struggling partly because of high aviation fuel prices. “Kingfisher was a fab airline that faced the highest ever crude prices of $140/barrel,” Mallya said. “Losses mounted and that’s where banks’ money went. I have offered to repay 100% of the principal amount to them. Please take it.”
Referring to media reports about his extradition trial, Mallya said it was a separate matter and “will take its own legal course”. The businessman, who is now out on bail, reiterated his earlier offer to settle his dues. “I humbly request the banks and government to take it,” he said. “If payback refused, why?”
The liquor baron asked why politicians and the media were still referring to him as a defaulter. “Why don’t I get fair treatment and the same loud noise about my comprehensive settlement offer before the Karnataka High Court? Sad,” he tweeted.
Last week, Mallya’s lawyer told a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act court
that the businessman left India legally and cannot be declared a fugitive because he was arrested in the United Kingdom on the basis of a warrant issued against him by an Indian court.
Amit Desai made the comment a day after the court rejected Mallya’s plea seeking a stay on the Enforcement Directorate’s application to declare him a fugitive economic offender. The Bombay High Court had rejected a similar plea on November 22.