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Will discuss the issue bilaterally with Diageo: Vijay Mallya

Liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who has been asked to quit from the chairmanship of the board of Diageo-controlled United Spirits, Monday said he will discuss the issue bilaterally with the world’s largest spirits maker.

“Diageo has contractual obligation to support me as a Chairman and director on the USL Board. Today, with their statement, they have confirmed it. I will discuss the issue with Diageo bilaterally,” Vijay Mallya said.

When asked if he will call for a special shareholders’ meeting on the issue, he said: “Let us not speculate. Why should I tell anyone about future course of action. I will discuss with Diageo.”

Reacting to Diageo’s statement earlier today that its contractual obligation to support him was subject to certain conditions, Mallya said:” Let them come out with statement. I will not say anything more than I have already said.”

Earlier today, Diageo said its contractual obligations to support his presence would not apply in the event of defaults by the Indian businessman and his group firm UB Holdings Ltd.

On Saturday, alleging fund diversion to Kingfisher and other UB group entities, Diageo-owned United Spirits asked Mallya to quit the board, even as the liquor baron outright rejected the demand and the charge.

The board of United Spirits Ltd (USL), in which Diageo has bought a controlling 55 percent stake for about USD 3 billion, asked Mallya to step down after “various improprieties and legal violations” were found in a probe into loans worth Rs 1,337 crore given by USL to UB Group firms.

USL, the erstwhile flagship firm of the UB Group, has already seen a number of exits from its board and top management since the probe was launched by Diageo.

The UK-based liquor giant had first acquired 25 percent in USL from Mallya-led UB Group in late 2012, while it bought further 26 percent stake from non-promoters last year.

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