Businessman Vijay Mallya on Thursday reiterated his offer to pay back the money he owes to a consortium of banks and asked why Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not “instructing banks to take the money”.
Mallya is fighting a number of lawsuits in the United Kingdom and India related to fraud and money laundering allegations. He fled India and moved to London in March 2016, but a court there ordered his extradition to India in December. The United Kingdom signed an order to extradite him on February 4.
On February 7, in a veiled reference to Mallya, Modi told Parliament that the Congress had allowed loot in the country while his government was bringing fugitives back. “Those who fled, are crying on Twitter,” the prime minister had said in the Lok Sabha. “They are saying their liability is only Rs 9,000 crore, but Modi has seized his property worth Rs 13,000 crore.”
In a series of tweets, Mallya referred to the prime minister’s speech, saying that according to media reports the prime minister was referring to him.
“I respectfully ask why the prime minister is not instructing his banks to take the money I have put on the table so he can at least claim credit for full recovery of public funds lent to Kingfisher,” he tweeted.
The businessman said he even told the Karnataka High Court about his offer to settle dues. “This cannot be dismissed as frivolous,” he added. “It is a perfectly tangible, sincere, honest and readily achievable offer. The shoe is on the other foot now. Why don’t the banks take the money lent to KFA [Kingfisher Airlines]?”
Mallya said he was appalled at reports claiming he had hidden his wealth. “Shameful misleading of public opinion but unsurprising,” the businessman added.
On January 5, a special court in Mumbai declared Mallya a fugitive economic offender. He is the first person to get the tag after Parliament passed the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act last year to allow the seizure of domestic assets of such individuals.