The king of good times breaking out of the shell. Why now?
Vijay Mallya the liquor and airline baron’s recent Twitter activity has anything to go by it may be true that the walls may be finally coming down. Because there is clearly a sense of urgency and panic in Mallya\'s desperate bid to clear his current position.
NEW DELHI: Vijay Mallya the liquor and airline baron’s recent Twitter activity has anything to go by it may be true that the walls may be finally coming down. Because there is clearly a sense of urgency and panic in Mallya's desperate bid to clear his current position.
For two days now, Mallya's Twitter account has been active. Since Tuesday, he has taken to the micro-blogging site to make a letter written to the prime minister and the finance minister in 2016 public and offer to sell assets worth Rs 13,900 crore in order to the repay debt. In the process, Mallya has been targeted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Enforcement Directorate (ED) and 'politically motivated extraneous factors', to play the victim card.
The proverbial 'king of good times', in his statement, claims that instead of the Rs 9,000 crore bank default he is accused of, a value that includes the interest, he took a loan of only Rs 5,500 crore, of which nearly Rs 1,300 crore was paid back, and he had offered to pay another Rs 4,400 crore but was rejected by the banks. This act, does not entitle him to be called a wilful bank defaulter. He says.
In a tweet earlier in the day, Mallya spoke about why he broke his silence. " Some people have been asking why I chose to make a statement at this time. I have made my statement because UBHL and myself have filed an application before the Hon’ble Karnataka High Court on June 22, 2018, setting out available assets of approximately Rs. 13,900 crores," he said.
The offer of the settlement came a day before an ED court is likely to take up the case to declare him a fugitive and allow it to confiscate his assets. His statement may also be looking at strengthening his case in British and Indian courts. The main accusation against him is of fraud while Mallya wants to prove that it was simply a genuine business failure. The letters are intended to show that he made an attempt to repay.
Even if British courts allow his extradition, they might put certain conditions for which he can be tied and that may restrict the government authorities' hands in India. Mallya's attempt to present his side of the story may be seen as a direct fallout of him feeling the heat and the likelihood of the authorities closing in. If the government manages to extradite the fugitive liquor baron ahead of the 2019 general elections, it could prove to be a major shot in the arm for the Narendra Modi government.
Dues against his company can be restored from his personal assets only if fraud is proven or that he used his position to illegally enrich himself. His bungalow, on Delhi's Sardar Patel Road, for instance, is worth several hundred crore rupees. The letters thus, may also be seen as an attempt to safeguard his personal assets.