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The service tax department had first put up the luxury jet for auction in March 2016 at a reserve price of ₹ 152 crore to recover ₹ 800 crore in dues from Vijay Mallya’s now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines. Photo: Reuters
The service tax department had first put up the luxury jet for auction in March 2016 at a reserve price of ₹ 152 crore to recover ₹ 800 crore in dues from Vijay Mallya’s now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines. Photo: Reuters

Vijay Mallya’s private jet sold for a paltry ₹ 35 crore

Vijay Mallya's private jet, an Airbus A139, was bought by Florida-based Aviation Management Sales at an e-auction conducted on Friday

Mumbai: After four failed attempts since March 2016, India’s service tax authorities have sold Vijay Mallya’s luxury jet for 34.8 crore ($5.05 million) to Florida, US-based Aviation Management Sales. The service tax authorities had put up for auction the Airbus A319 luxury jet, which Mallya used to fly across the world to finalise business deals, to recover 800 crore in dues that had accumulated on account of non-payment of service tax by Kingfisher Airlines.

The transaction was completed on Friday through an e-auction, following a Karnataka high court order, said a person familiar with the development. The jet was parked at a hangar in Mumbai airport since it was confiscated in 2013. The deal will go through after the Bombay high court’s approval.

“Mallya’s private jet has finally found a buyer at an e-auction conducted by the state-run auctioneer MSTC last Friday. The Florida, US-based firm Aviation Management Sales Llc quoted the highest bid of 34.8 crore and won the bid," the person quoted above said.

The service tax department had first put up the luxury jet for auction in March 2016 at a reserve price of 152 crore. However, only one bidder showed interest and offered to pay a paltry 1.09 crore. The department rejected the bid and then reduced the reserve price by 10%. The reserve price was further reduced to 85 crore as the plane continued to attract paltry bids.

The last auction was conducted in March 2017.

The plane was attached by the service tax department in December 2013. It was forced to auction the aircraft after the Mumbai airport moved the Bombay high court seeking removal of the jet from its premises as it was resulting in non-productive use of its space. In January 2018, the Bombay high court directed the official liquidator of the Karnataka high court, in charge of the assets and books of Kingfisher Airlines, to take required steps to take away the plane occupying space in the highly congested Mumbai airport.

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