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

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit - Our Bureau

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.

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