Fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya appealed to various Indian banks to accept his offer to pay back 100 per cent of the principal loan amount he owes to them, days ahead of a UK court’s decision on his plea not to extradite him to India.
The 62-year-old former Kingfisher Airline boss, who has been on bail in the UK on an extradition warrant since his arrest in April last year, is fighting extradition to India on charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to around Rs 9,000 crores. In a series of tweets, the embattled businessman said that the huge loans he took from banks went into keeping his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines afloat despite high jet fuel prices.
“Airlines struggling financially partly because of high ATF prices. Kingfisher was a fab airline that faced the highest ever crude prices of USD 140/barrel. Losses mounted and that’s where Banks money went . I have offered to repay 100 per cent of the principal amount to them. Please take it (sic).” Mallya also claimed that his vast liquor empire, the United Breweries, contributed “handsomely” to the state exchequer.“Sad loss of the finest Airline but still I offer to pay Banks so no loss. Please take it,” he said.
“Politicians and the media are constantly talking loudly about my being a defaulter who has run away with PSU Bank money. All this is false. Why don’t I get fair treatment and the same loud noise about my comprehensive settlement offer before the Karnataka High Court,” he said.
“I see the quick media narrative about my extradition decision. That is separate and will take its own legal course. The most important point is public money and I am offering to pay 100 pr cent back. I humbly request the banks and Government to take it,” he said.
Mallya’s tweets came hours after alleged AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal middleman Christian Michel was brought to India from Dubai, the first successful extradition since India initiated similar proceedings against economic offenders like Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.
A ruling at the end of Mallya’s extradition trial is expected at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London on December 10. The extradition trial, which opened at the London court on December 4 last year, is aimed at laying out a prima facie case of fraud against Mallya and establishing there are no bars to him being extradited to face Indian courts over the allegations relating to loans made out to his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
In separate legal proceedings, the businessman had also lost his appeal in the UK’s Court of Appeal against a High Court order in favour of 13 Indian banks to recover funds amounting to nearly 1.145 billion pounds.