Mallya's of­fer

Millennium Post - - Mp Editorial -

Fugitive busi­ness­man Vi­jay Mallya on Thurs­day once again of­fered to pay up the money he owes to In­dian pub­lic sec­tor banks. In a tweet, he said that he wants to end the “nar­ra­tive that he stole money” from var­i­ous lenders. He also main­tained that there was no con­nec­tion be­tween his pro­posal and the ex­tra­di­tion of Chris­tian Michel, the al­leged mid­dle­man in the Agusta West­land chop­per deal. Michel was brought back to In­dia on Tues­day. “Re­spect­fully to all com­men­ta­tors, I can­not un­der­stand how my ex­tra­di­tion de­ci­sion or the re­cent ex­tra­di­tion from Dubai and my set­tle­ment of­fer are linked in any way. Wher­ever I am phys­i­cally, my ap­peal is “Please take the money”. I want to stop the nar­ra­tive that I stole money,” he wrote in a tweet. On Wed­nes­day, Mallya had tweeted that he is not a de­faulter and re­peated his claim that he is ready to re­pay “100 per cent” of the money owed to In­dian banks. He also ex­pressed sur­prise why his of­fer made since 2016 has been re­fused. Mallya is fac­ing ex­tra­di­tion from the United King­dom to In­dia, a judge­ment in the high-pro­file case is due in the West­min­ster mag­is­trates court on Mon­day. He is fac­ing charges of fi­nan­cial ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties run­ning into thou­sands of crores in In­dia. just be­fore a debt court in Bengaluru was set to act against him for de­fault­ing on loans is­sued by sev­eral pub­lic sec­tor banks led by State Bank of In­dia, Mallya fled In­dia in March 2016. The suc­cess­ful de­por­ta­tion of arms dealer Chris­tian Michel to In­dia has rekin­dled the hope that soon some of the fugitive busi­ness­men from In­dia who have taken shel­ter in the UK and else­where would be ex­tra­dited to In­dia. Apart from Vi­jay Mallya who re­port­edly owes over Rs 9,000 crore to In­dian pub­lic sec­tor banks, jew­ellery busi­ness­men Ni­rav Modi and Me­hul Choksi fig­ure promi­nently among the busi­ness­men who have fled the coun­try af­ter avail­ing bank loans to the tune of bil­lions of dol­lars. In fact, there was a sim­i­lar­ity in the way Vi­jay Mallya, Neerav Modi and Me­hul Choksi fled from the coun­try. All of them had an idea that their mis­deeds would not con­tinue for long and they are about to be brought to jus­tice. In or­der to es­cape from the law en­force­ment and in­ves­tiga­tive agen­cies, these busi­ness­men took a flight se­cretly and left the coun­try. Ever since they fled af­ter bleed­ing the pub­lic sec­tor lenders, the in­ves­tiga­tive agen­cies are on their toes to find their where­abouts and try to get them ex­tra­dited to In­dia. Though the process is not easy, the In­dian es­tab­lish­ment has shown a strong will to get them ex­tra­dited and make them face the due course of law. As of now, a break­through has not been achieved as far as their ex­tra­di­tion is con­cerned but slowly the noose against these fugitive busi­ness­men is tight­en­ing. The ex­tra­di­tion of Chris­tian Michel has given a fresh hope that the ef­forts by In­dian in­ves­tiga­tive agen­cies to bring back the fugitive busi­ness­men to the coun­try will even­tu­ally bear fruits. Per­haps, sens­ing the ul­ti­mate out­come of this pro­tracted tug of war, Mallya has of­fered to pay up what­ever loans he owes to the banks. But he is say­ing that he has made the same of­fer two years back but banks are not will­ing to reach a set­tle­ment with him.

In­dian pub­lic sec­tor banks are go­ing through a rough patch be­cause of the bank­ing scams that have been re­ported in the fast few years. But be­fore these scams came to light, the is­sue of non-per­form­ing as­sets (NPA) or bad loans hogged the me­dia head­lines. The In­dian pub­lic sec­tor banks are sit­ting on a huge pile of NPA run­ning into over six lakh crore ru­pees. It is not that only Vi­jay Mallya, Neerav Modi or Me­hul Choksi have taken a huge amount of banks' money and re­fused to re­pay, there are a whole lot of other busi­ness­men who have taken sim­i­lar loans from the banks and failed to pay up. The dilemma that the pub­lic sec­tor banks are fac­ing to­day is what to do with the NPAS and the busi­ness­men who have de­lib­er­ately re­fused to pay the

loans. Given the lack of op­tions with banks or in­ves­tiga­tive agen­cies in these cases, Mallya and the like have be­lieved that they can do away with re­pay­ing the loans and can live out­side In­dia without re­quir­ing to face the due course of

law. As in the case of Mallya, a UK court is about to de­liver its judge­ment on Mon­day. If the court rules in favour of the In­dian banks and the in­ves­tiga­tive agen­cies seek­ing his ex­tra­di­tion to In­dia, it will be the end of the road for the fugitive busi­ness­men. He will have no op­tion left but get back to In­dia and face the law. But if the UK court rules in favour of Mallya, it will fur­ther em­bolden other busi­ness­men who are try­ing to es­cape out of the coun­try af­ter de­fault­ing bank loans.

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