Embattled tycoon Vijay Mallya has said he is in a “forced exile” and has no plans to return to India where things are flying at him “fast and furious.”
Mr. Mallya, whose passport was revoked this month, said he wanted a “reasonable” settlement with creditor banks for his defunct airline, but they “are not getting any money” by taking his passport or arresting him.
Mallya said he wanted to close a painful chapter. “We have always been in dialogue with banks saying: ‘We wish to settle’. But we wish to settle at a reasonable number that we can afford and banks can justify on the basis of settlements done before.”
“By taking my passport or arresting me, they are not getting any money,” he added.
“I have been labeled willful defaulter which I just cannot understand. We have invested over 600 million pounds into Kingfisher Airlines. We tried everything conceivably possible to save the airline. A combination of macro-economic factors and then government policies, unfortunately could not safe Kingfisher,” said Mallya.
Mallya said he would definitely like to return to India but his passport has been revoked.
“I would definitely like to return to India. Right now things are flying at me, fast and furious. My passport has been revoked. I don’t know what the government is going to do next, but, I have always maintained that notwithstanding anything else,” he said, adding, “I am interested in the settlement with the Kingfisher Airlines, bankers and would like to repeat that I will reach out if they are interested in making a settlement.”
Mallya, 60, flew first class from Delhi to London on March 2 at a time when the government and a 17-bank consortium are trying to recover the money owed by his collapsed Kingfisher Airlines Ltd.
“By taking my passport or arresting me, they are not getting any money,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.
India wrote to the British government on Thursday seeking the deportation of the liquor tycoon and Formula 1 motor racing boss, who is now also the target of a non-bailable warrant in a money laundering investigation by the Enforcement Directorate.
The government, he said, can appoint the world’s best forensic auditor to audit the accounts of Kingfisher and audit how banks loans were utilised. “I am sure they are not going to find anything, because that’s the truth.”
He said he has always maintained that “notwithstanding anything else”, he was interested in settlement with Kingfisher bankers. Asked who was behind his woes, he said, “I wish I knew.”