New Delhi: United Breweries chairman Vijay Mallya on Wednesday offered to pay back “100% of the principal amount" he owes banks, days before a UK court rules on his bid to block his extradition to India.
“I see the quick media narrative about my extradition decision. That is separate and will take its own legal course. The most important point is public money and I am offering to pay 100% back. I humbly request the banks and government to take it. If payback is refused, why?" Mallya said in the first of a series of tweets on Wednesday morning.
Mallya said that he contributed significantly to the state coffers as chief of the UB group and founder of the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines.
“For three decades running India’s largest alcoholic beverage group, we contributed thousands of crores to the state exchequer. Kingfisher Airlines also contributed handsomely to the states. Sad loss of the finest airline but still I offer to pay banks so no loss. Please take it," he said.
Mallya, whose extradition case ruling will be delivered on 10 December, said Kingfisher Airlines floundered because of rising prices of air turbine fuel.
“Kingfisher was a fabulous airline that faced the highest ever crude prices of USD 140 per barrel. Losses mounted and that’s where banks’ money went. I have offered to repay 100% of the principal amount to them. Please take it," Mallya said in a third tweet. Mallya, who faces money laundering charges levelled by the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), said in September that he had a made a “comprehensive settlement" offer before the Karnataka high court back in June, which he now claims was ignored.
“Politicians and media are constantly talking loudly about my being a defaulter who has run away with PSU bank money. All this is false. Why don’t I get fair treatment and the same loud noise about my comprehensive settlement offer before the Karnataka high court. Sad," Mallya said tweeted.
A person familiar with the case in India said that although Mallya has offered “the principal amount (and not the interest) and expressed a willingness to return to India with the threat of confiscation of properties writ large, the law will take its own course and investigation agencies will have to wait and see what the UK court decides."
In June 2017, the ED filed a chargehseet under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) alleging that Mallya fled to the UK on 2 March 2016 as a consortium of 13 banks, led by the State Bank of India closed in on him, with Mallya owing ₹ 9,000 crore.
The ED also moved a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act court in July to declare the now defunct Kingfisher Airline chief a “fugitive economic offender" and to confiscate all his properties to the tune of ₹ 12,500 crore.