Rise And The Fall

India Business Journal - - READERS' LOUNGE -

He was once the King of Good Times - known for his op­u­lent life­style, cal­en­dar shoots with bikini-clad mod­els, high stakes in an IPL team and an air­line that was the last word in lux­ury. But the global down­turn in avi­a­tion and the ris­ing fuel prices wors­ened King­fisher's fi­nan­cial ill health. The sev­eral thou­sands of crores loaned to it by a con­sor­tium of banks proved in­suf­fi­cient to ar­rest the slide in its for­tunes.

By early 2013, the high-fly­ing air­line shut shop and closed the doors on dis­grun­tled em­ploy­ees and in­vestors - none of which, though, made any dent in Mr Mallya's own life­style as he had pil­fered cash from the com­pany and stashed it abroad. Fac­ing charges of money laun­der­ing, mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion and be­ing a wil­ful de­faulter, Mr Mallya left the coun­try in 2016 for his coun­try es­tate near Lon­don.

Mr Mallya is cur­rently in the UK, fight­ing the bat­tle of his life. There's an ex­tra­di­tion de­mand from In­dia, which has put the might of the State against the in­dus­tri­al­ist. In­dia's Supreme Court is over­see­ing the move to get him to pay back Rs 9,000 crore in bad debts af­ter the ground­ing of King­fisher Air­lines. It is hardly sur­pris­ing that Mr Mallya's busi­ness em- pire is in sham­bles. Even a few years ago, he was the sec­ond-largest liquor dis­trib­u­tor in the world. Now, at 60, Mr Mallya only has United Brew­eries - through which he op­er­ates the King­fisher beer em­pire - to count on. But he re­mains cocky. "Sur­ren­der of pass­port, ar­rest, bail, all part of nor­mal ex­tra­di­tion pro­ceed­ings," he tweeted. He is un­re­pen­tant.

The drama be­hind the me­te­oric rise and fall of Mr Mallya is well put to­gether in this snappy book by busi­ness jour­nal­ist King­shuk Nag. It helps that Mr Nag had re­ported some of these sto­ries, par­tic­u­larly in the 1980s and 1990s. Those were heady days for In­dian busi­ness jour­nal­ism, where takeovers re­quired deft han­dling of a busi­ness-un­friendly en­vi­ron­ment. The book also com­pe­tently cap­tures the end game at King­fisher Air­lines and ex­plores just why the BJP govern­ment is so keen to make an ex­am­ple of Mr Mallya. This book is the story of how the king lost his cheer and high spir­its, to be re­mem­bered for one of the big­gest cor­po­rate col­lapses of our time.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.