As the Indian judiciary and banks efforts to recover Rs 9,000 crore dues from billionaire Vijay Mallya reach a level of desperation, the liquor baron who is estimated to be worth about Rs 7,000 crore has indicated that he may not return to India at all.
"I do not feel the time is right. I feel passions are high. People need to think rationally," he said in an interview to the Sunday Guardian. In an indication he may even choose not to return at all, he has also said that he hoped that he would "return one day".
He said, loan defaults are a business matter and banks give out loans knowing the risk involved. "They decide, we don’t. Our own business was flourishing, but plummeted suddenly. Don’t make me the villain. I have the best intentions. I’m quiet because I fear my words will be twisted like of others," Mallya said.
On being asked he left country after being tipped off about the banks moving court, Mallya said it's a matter of interpretation and don't need anyone to tip hin off about anything. "I’ve never hidden any aspect about my life. I’m one of the most open people. I’m forced to go into hiding and that makes me sick," said Mallya.
"I am an Indian to the core. Of course I want to return," said Mallya in an interview.
But, he said the time is not right for him to return to India now as he has already been branded as a criminal, and will not get a fair chance to present his side.
Interestingly, the statement has come at a time when the Hyderabad Court has issued a non-bailable warrant againt Mallya. On Friday, the Hyderabad court issued a warrant after he failed to appear in a court here in connection with alleged dishonour of a cheque of Rs 50 lakh to GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd.
Cocking a snook at the Indian legal system and the tax payers at large, Mallya also said in the interview that he is an Indian to the core. "India has given me everything. It made me Vijay Mallya," he has said.Vijay Mallya
Interestingly, the statement has come at a time when the Hyderabad Court has issued a non-bailable warrant againt Mallya. On Friday, the court issued a warrant after he failed to appear in a court here in connection with the alleged dishonour of a cheque of Rs 50 lakh to GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd.
The counsel for Mallya, who is at the centre of a raging controversy after he left the country amid continuing efforts by banks to recover dues totalling over Rs 9,000 crore of unpaid loans and interest, said he will move the high court seeking quashing of the non-bailable warrant (NBW).
The 14th Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate court issued the NBWs on March 10 against the now defunct now-defunct Kingfisher Airline, its chairman Vijay Mallya and another senior official of the company and posted the matter for 13 April.
GMR counsel G. Ashok Reddy said, “He (Mallya) and others were supposed to appear before the court on March 10. They did not appear.... Hence, court issued NBW order which has to be executed by 13 April.”
There are a total of 11 cases involving Rs 8 crore payment to GMR and the NBWs were issued in connection with a Rs 50-lakh bounced cheque, he said.
GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd, or GHIAL, which runs Hyderabad's Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, had filed a petition in the court seeking Mallya's prosecution for defaulting on payments and cheating them by allegedly issuing cheques that bounced.
Advocate H. Sudhakar Rao, appearing for Mallya said, “NBWs have been issued in this case. There are other cases going on wherein we have got orders from High Court dispensing with his (Mallya's) attendence.”
”I will be filing an application in the high court for quashing this order of issuing warrants,” Rao told PTI.
When contacted, GMR refused to comment on the issue saying the matter is sub-judice.
GHIAL in October 2012 had withdrawn a case over “bounced” cheques against Mallya after the airline agreed to pay the outstanding amount due to the airport operator.
The court had also then issued NBWs against five senior executives of the airline, including Mallya.
”After the case was withdrawn, only a part of the due amount was paid and later they defaulted after which 11 cases were now filed against the airline under provisions of the Negotiable Instruments Act,” sources said.
With inputs from PTI