‘Mallya’s return to India should be given top priority’

‘Mallya’s return to India should be given top priority’

By SHAILENDRA TYAGI | NEW DELHI | 12 March, 2016
Vijay Mallya
Vijay Mallya, the Indian businessman and politician, has caused the government to worry after absconding from India despite owing banks over Rs 9,000 crore including compounded interest. Mallya himself tweeted that he did not flee India but, as an international businessman, has off shore business to attend to as well. However, he wasn’t very specific on his return either. “All the apprehension related to this has become political now,” says Jitendra Bhargava, former executive director, Air-India. The Supreme Court’s notice to Mallya does not have the power to bring him back but it certainly has lot of persuasive charm. There is a certain laxity built in our system, says Bhargava, which Mallya took advantage of. “There is a need for course correction by setting up a dedicated team whose only job should be to get this man back,” said Bhargava. Vijay Mallya, the promoter of the now defunct Kingfisher airline, owes Rs 9,000 crore to a consortium of Indian banks. The fact that he could walk away from the country — with full knowledge of the CBI — is raising questions about the government’s integrity. “The knowledge that Mallya cannot be put behind bars would encourage him to come back,” feels Deepak Kapoor, a Supreme Court lawyer. “Every stakeholder, be it the banks or the Finance Ministry, wants the earliest settlement of the dues that they are owed. Mallya has the financial wherewithal to do so,” says Kapoor. Till now, Mallya had not shown any inclination to pay back banks which are already struggling with a humongous burden of bad loans. Analysts feel that the banks might have to take an aggressive haircut before the matter can be settled. These banks had been eying a huge payout — about $2billion — that Diageo (the UK based distillery) had paid to Vijay Mallya for acquiring a majority stake in his liquor business. The generosity to lend huge sums of money to Kingfisher airline and thereafter, turning that loan into equity (ownership) at double the price of Kingfisher’s shares has raised suspicion about the banks’ involvement as well. Bhargava feels that many issues related to the Mallya’s case would not come out in the public domain. Quoting the CAG report of 2015, he says, that the Airport Authority of India wrote off Rs 172 crore of Kingfisher’s dues in 2013-14. “How can the Airport Authority settle the matter internally with Mallya?” asked Bhargava.
 

Add new comment

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.