Keen to Settle Dues, But in No Hurry to Return: Mallya
CORNERED Says banks afraid to take a haircut on their loans fearing public backlash
VIJAYMALLYA Liquor Baron I am absolutely not guilty of any of these preposterous charges of diverting funds from Kingfisher, buying properties or stuff like that
Mumbai: Beleaguered liquor baron Vijay Mallya has told an English daily that he’s keen for a “reasonable” settlement with banks and close a painful chapter in his otherwise spectacular career.
Mallya, however, said he has no plans to leave the UK and return to India as he is in “forced exile” after the government revoked his passport. “We have always been in dialogue with banks saying: ‘We wish to settle’. But we wish to settle at a reasonable number that we can afford and banks can justify on the basis of settlements done before,” Mallya told English daily FT in London. “By taking my passport or arresting me, they are not getting any money,” he was quoted as saying even as the Indian government has requested the UK to deport him.
Mallya confirmed that in a submission before the Supreme Court he had offered to repay £440 million (.`4,000 crore) on outstanding principal of £512 million, or about .₹ 4,900 crore, his defunct airline Kingfisher Airlines had borrowed from banks. The lenders, who claim payable dues of .₹ 9,000 crore from the tycoon, rejected the offer.
Mallya claimed that the banks were afraid to take a haircut on their loans owing to public frenzy whipped against him. “It is important to understand the environment in India today. The electronic media is playing a huge role not just in moulding public opinion but in inflaming the government to a very large extent,” he said.
Mallya also alleged that the claimed sum was an “inflated amount”. He claimed that the actual principal borrowed was a little over £500 million while interest as of 2013, when legal skirmishes over repayment began, was £120 million, or about .₹ 1,150 crore.
“It is grossly unjust to apply compound interest and artificially inflate this figure,” he said.
On the Enforcement Directorate’s suspicion that he diverted part of a .₹ 900 crore loan (£90 million) from IDBI Bank overseas, Mallya said, “I am absolutely not guilty of any of these preposterous charges of diverting funds from Kingfisher, buying properties or stuff like that.”
Calling himself an Indian patriot, Mallya said until the outcry around him continues, he is more than happy to stay safe in the UK.