Vijay Mallya breaks silence, says ‘pained as being painted as an absconder’

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Billionaire liquor baron, Vijay Mallya, has broken his silence on the raging controversy over reportedly defaulting on Rs 7,000 crore loans to his lenders.

In a statement issued on Sunday evening, Mallya said that he had been “most pained as being painted as an absconder.”

He said, “I have neither intention nor any reason to abscond… Personally, I am not a borrower or a judgement defaulter. Legal proceedings apart, I have been making efforts to reach a one-time settlement with the banks, and to that end I have had three meetings and follow up calls in the recent past and my efforts will continue—this settlement would be based on additional payments to the banks.”

Karnataka High Court on Friday had ordered issue of notice to Mallya, his defunct Kingfisher Airlines and nine other respondents on a petition filed by bankers, including SBI, seeking his arrest and impounding of his passport for defaulting on loans.

SBI, which heads the consortium of 17 lenders to the grounded Kingfisher Airlines, had moved DRT here against the airline’s chairman Mallya in its bid to recover over Rs 7,000 crore due loans from him.

DRT judge Benakanahalli, on priority basis, took up the application for securing a first right on the USD 75 million severance package that Mallya will be getting for quitting Diageo-owned United Spirits as its chairman last week under a sweetheart deal.

Mallya said, “The payments from Diageo Plc to myself are towards my personal non-compete obligations globally, except in the UK. In effect, I have given up my interests in the spirits business globally at considerable cost.

“Having recently turned 60, I have decided to spend more time in England, closer to my children. Recognizing that the media was indulging in sensationalism, I thought it was best to let the drama play out—never spoil a sensational story with the truth. However, I feel the time has come to clarify my position in order to avoid this relentless attack on my reputation.”

 

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