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‘Hunted down by media in UK’, Vijay Mallya says will not talk to anybody

Vijay Mallya, who only away from country has taken social media site help to inform that he is being “hunted down by media in UK” but he will not speak to them so media should not waste their time on him.

Vijay Mallya-AV“I am being hunted down by media in UK. Sadly they did not look in the obvious place. I will not speak to media so don’t waste your efforts,” Mallya’s said in his tweet early on Sunday morning.

Mallya owes a consortium of 17 public sector banks an amount close to Rs 9,000 crore.

Mallya, 60, took a Jet Airways flight to London on March 2, 2016 as regulators and investigation agencies became aggressive after public pressure increased to recover the loans, for which he stood personal guarantee. Details of his whereabouts in London are not known, but Mallya owns a sprawling villa in the city’s outskirts.

The UB Group chairman, who built India’s largest liquor and beer company before he sold majority stake in them to British liquor major Diageo and Dutch beer brand Heineken, respectively to raise funds to run Kingfisher Airlines. In the process, he also gave personal guarantees to banks to raise additional funds.

“Yes, there was trouble in the account; the account was already stressed. He wanted another opportunity to try and turn it around. We felt it was right for him to get that opportunity, but just as we risked money, we also asked that he put in a personal guarantee,” State Bank of India chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya said. “That’s the reason why we have gone to him and not only after the assets of Kingfisher Airlines, because the guarantee was given by him, a guarantee was given by the holding company. We are going to go for recovery against all three.”

SBI leads the consortium of 17 banks that lent Kingfisher Airlines and Mallya funds, before the airline shut in 2012.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), which is investigating a money laundering case against Mallya, has directed the Rajya Sabha MP to be present before it on March 18. The ED has already questioned Kingfisher Airlines CFO A Raghunathan and UB Group CFO Ravi Nedungadi. ED’s case is based on a CBI investigation on a Rs. 900 crore loan given to Mallya by IDBI Bank, despite an internal committee recommending against disbursing the money. CBI had begun looking at the case since August 2014.

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