Fugitive tycoon Vijaya Mallya has sought the Karnataka High Court's permission to let him and his holding firm UBHL sell their assets under judicial supervision and repay creditors, including state-run banks. He has also indicated his willingness to settle his dues and return to India.
"UBHL (United Breweries Holding Ltd) and myself have filed an application before the Karnataka High Court on June 22, setting out available assets of about Rs 13,900 crore," said Mallya from London in a statement released by his office in Bengaluru on Tuesday.
Mallya has requested the court's permission to allow him to sell the assets under judicial supervision and repay creditors, including the state-run banks, such amounts as may be directed and determined by the court.
Contesting the status of wilful defaulter accorded to him by the consortium of banks in India, Mallya, in a series of tweets, also claimed that he “has made and continued to make every effort, in good faith to settle with the Public Sector Banks.” He added that he had made two settlement offers to the banks, both of which were turned down.
“...I wrote letters to the Chairperson of SBI on 10th May, 2016, 2nd June, 2016 and 10th June, 2016 seeking settlement discussions. I respectfully submit that my conduct does not amount to “wilful default”,” Mallya added.
Mallya in a tweet lamented that he has become a 'poster boy' of bank default and the ‘lightning rod of public anger.’
The 62-year-old liquor baron, who fled India on March 2, 2016, has been living in London since then despite summons from Indian courts and law enforcement agencies to appear before them for trial in various related cases.
Asserting that recovery of loans was a civil matter, Mallya said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) had, however, criminalised it in his case by moving against him aggressively despite his intentions to settle the dues with the banks.
"The CBI and ED seem determined to frame criminal charges against me on the pretext of non-payment to the banks. The motivation, however, seems to be to secure my presence in India to face charges than to determine if the evidence collected by the investigative agencies demonstrates criminal charges against me or to permit me to sell assets and repay creditors," he said.
Claiming that the bulk of the dues were on account of interest, Mallya said owing to injunctions, attachments and refusal to grant permission to sell the assets, it (interest) had kept mounting.
"Consequently, the bloated figure of outstanding dues to the banks is largely on account of these mala fide actions. If CBI or ED object to my proposal and sale of assets, it will demonstrate that there is an agenda against me beyond recovery of dues to the banks," the statement pointed out.
Reiterating that he made efforts to settle the dues, Mallya said if politically motivated and extraneous factors interfere, there was nothing he could do.
A consortium of 17 banks, led by the State Bank of India (SBI), gave Rs 5,500 crore loans to Mallya's now defunct Kingfisher Airlines since over a decade.
"Over Rs 600 crore has been recovered through sale of pledged assets and Rs 1,280 crore was deposited with the Karnataka High Court since 2013," recalled Mallya.
Referring to the charges allegedly made by politicians and the media that he ran away from the country after "stealing" Rs 9,000 crore loaned to his airline, Mallya said some of the lending banks had also declared him a wilful defaulter.
"The CBI and ED have filed charge-sheets against me with untenable and false allegations acting at the behest of the government and lending banks. The ED also attached assets belonging to me, my group companies and owned and/or controlled by my family under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) currently valued at Rs 13,900 crore," said Mallya.
Observing that he became the "Poster Boy" of bank default and a lightning rod of public anger, Mallya said though he wrote letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitely on April 15, 2016 clarifying his position and seeking their intervention to settle the dues, there was no response from either of them.
(With IANS inputs)