New Delhi: Fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya once again took to Twitter this morning to reiterate his wish to repay banks the entire principal loan amount he owes them in order to end the narrative of him having “stolen” the money from various lenders.
In his tweet, Mallya also rejected any links between the extradition of AgustaWestland middleman Christian James from Dubai and his offer to settle the loans.
“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 tweeted.
On Wednesday morning, Mallya, in a series of tweets, had offered to repay the entire amount of the principal loan he owed to various banks.
The 62-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines 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 allegedly amounting to around Rs 9,000 crores.
A ruling in the case is expected at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London on December 10, but the businessman stressed that the extradition issue was a “separate” matter which will take its “own legal course”.
“The most important point is public money and I am offering to pay 100 per cent back. I humbly request the banks and government to take it. If payback refused, why,” he questioned in one of his posts on Twitter.
In reference to some Indian media reports claiming that his offer is linked to an expected ruling in the extradition case on December 10, he added: “Usual nonsense! I have made settlement offers since 2016.” After weeks of silence, Mallya shot off a series of tweets since the early hours of Wednesday to defend the loans he had acquired from various banks as a means of keeping his now-defunct Kingfisher Airline afloat.
“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,” reads one of his posts.
Mallya’s Wednesday 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 alleged economic offenders like Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.
Mallya is fighting his extradition from the UK to India in a trial which opened in London on December 4 last year. The UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), arguing on behalf of the Indian government, has attempted to lay out a prima facie case of fraud against Mallya and establish there are no bars to him being extradited to face Indian courts over the allegations relating to loans made out to erstwhile Kingfisher Airlines.
In separate legal proceedings, the businessman had lost an appeal in the UK’s Court of Appeal earlier this year against a UK High Court order in favour of 13 Indian banks to recover funds amounting to nearly 1.145 billion pounds.
The banks, led by State Bank of India (SBI), have since been pursuing ways of recouping the debt as part of a worldwide freezing order. In one of the most recent orders in the case last week, they had acquired the court’s permission to pursue any surplus funds from the sale of a luxury yacht formerly owned by Mallya.