Fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who is currently fighting against extradition to India from the UK, has issued a statement on Tuesday saying he has become the "poster boy" of bank default and a lightning rod of public anger. In the statement, Vijay Mallya explained that he had written to the prime minister and finance minister on 15 April, 2016, explaining his stance. "No response was received from either of them," he said in a statement.
Vijay Mallya, who resorted to playing a victim card through the statement, said he was unable to sell off the assets in order to settle the dues. "Wrote to SBI chief thrice to discuss the settlement," Mallya revealed, adding that he is trying to figure out a way to settle the dues. Emphasising that he was not a wilful defaulter, Mally said his "conduct doesn't amount to wilfull default". "All loans, at all times, were duly approved at the appropriate levels and by the appropriate departments of each bank. Finally, all loans were restructured and consolidated under a Master Debt Recast agreement in December, 2010 with permission from RBI. Consortium of 17 banks led by SBI made various loans to KFA of approximately Rs 5,500 crores. Recoveries in excess of Rs 600 Cr made through the sale of pledged assets and a further Rs 1,280 crores has been lying deposited with Karnataka HC since 2013," Mallya stated.
Vijay Mallya, who is wanted in India over Rs 9,000 crore loan default case, broke his silence after a long time to state the "factual position in response to the controversy unfortunately surrounding" him. "I respectfully say that I have made and continue to make every effort, in good faith to settle with the public sector banks. If politically-motivated extraneous factors interfere, there is nothing that I can do."
"Important to note that the principal amount involved remains at approx Rs 5,000 crores (less the recoveries made from sale of properties and other recoveries made by the Recovery Officer, DRT) as against the various inaccurate amounts appearing in the media," Mallya stated.
The Centre had, last week, made moved court against Vijay Mallya seeking to declare him a 'fugitive offender' and to confiscate his assets worth Rs 12,500 crore.
Officials said the CBI filed an application before a special court in Mumbai, underthe recently promulgated Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance, that empowers it to confiscate "all linked assets" of an absconding loan defaulter.
Earlier on June 15, the UK High Court had ordered Vijay Mallya to pay a minimum of 200,000 pounds towards the costs incurred by 13 Indian banks in their legal battle to recover alleged dues.
"I have been accused by politicians and the media alike of having stolen and run away with Rs 9,000 crore that was loaned to Kingfisher Airlines (KFA). Some of the lending banks have also labelled me a wilful defaulter," Mallya further said in his statement.
Mallya also said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) have filed charge-sheets against him "with various untenable and blatantly false allegations acting at the behest of the government and lending banks". He said he was tired of relentless assault on him by various agencies.
"The ED have also attached assets belonging to me, my group companies and companies owned and/or controlled by my family under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) currently valued at approximately Rs 13,900 crore," he added.
In summary, Mallya added, "I have become the 'poster boy' of bank default and a lightning rod of public anger".
(With inputs from agencies)