I’ve become poster boy of bank default: Vijay Mallya

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NEW DELHI: Fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya on June 26 said he has become the “poster boy” of bank default and a lightning rod of public anger, and there’s nothing he could do “if politically motivated extraneous factors interfere” with his efforts to settle the dues.
Speaking over the controversy surrounding him in the over Rs 9,000-crore Kingfisher Airlines loan default case, Mallya denied that he was a wilful defaulter.
Tired of “relentless pursuit” of him by “the government and its criminal agencies”, Mallya said he had even written letters to both the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister on April 15, 2016 to explain his side of the story.
“No response was received from either of them,” he said in a statement issued, seeking to state ‘factual position’ in response to the controversy surrounding him.
Mallya, who also made public the letters he had written to the PM and the Finance Minister, said he has been accused by politicians and the media alike of having stolen and running away with Rs 9,000 crore that was loaned to Kingfisher Airlines (KFA).
“Some of the lending banks have also labeled me a wilful defaulter,” he added.
He claimed that he made two settlement offers to the banks when proceedings were filed by them in the Supreme Court on March 29, 2016 and April 6, 2016 but both the offers were rejected by the banks.
“I respectfully submit that my conduct does not amount to ‘wilful default’,” Mallya said.
Currently, undergoing an extradition trial in a UK court over fraud and money laundering charges by Indian authorities, the liquor baron said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) have filed charge sheets against him “with various untenable and blatantly false allegations acting at the behest of the government and lending banks”.
“The ED have also attached assets belonging to me, my group companies and companies owned and/or controlled by my family under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) currently valued at approximately Rs 13,900 crore,” he added.

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