As news of the arrest and potential extradition of Vijay Mallya in London made waves on Tuesday, 18 April 2017, yet another development pertaining to the beleaguered liquor and aviation baron also made headlines.
It emerged that Sachiin Joshi, the actor-entrepreneur who purchased Mallya's Kingfisher Villa in Goa for a price slightly higher than Rs 73 crores, had taken possession of the property a day earlier. And the first order of business? Renaming the bungalow.
“The name should change. But I am yet to finalise one," Joshi was quoted by Hindustan Times as saying.
On 8 April 2017, the Times of India had reported that after three failed auction attempts, the Kingfisher Villa — a plush bungalow built over three acres, right by Candolim Beach in Goa — had been bought by Joshi, the chairman of Viiking Ventures. In April 2016, the Villa had been taken over by SBI, which is leading a consortium of 17 investors whose loans (amounting to over Rs 900 crore) Mallya defaulted on.
Over three attempts, the reserve price for the Villa (the worth of which one report last year had pegged at around Rs 90 crore) was reduced and Joshi's winning bid this time is reportedly, marginally higher than the reserve price of Rs 73 crore.
This is not the first major acquisition for Joshi — in 2015, his company bought over the Kings Beer brand for a neat Rs 90 crore.
Joshi also has interests in the entertainment industry and has acted in and produced films like Aazaan, Jackpot and Mumbai Mirror, as well as a slew of Telugu movies.
Joshi told Firstpost via an email, when news of his winning bid came out:
"A couple of years ago, I ventured into the alcohol business and acquired the Kings brand, which we then relaunched as 'Goa Kings'. (So there is that connection...)," Joshi wrote. "And a very long time ago — this was in 2006 or 2007 — I had been to Kingfisher Villa for a party. I do believe it's among the finest properties I've seen and I had thought that if the opportunity arises, I would buy it someday. In fact, I had even mentioned to a friend, that if one is to build or buy (a property) it should be like Kingfisher Villa. And here we are. After nearly 12 years, I had the opportunity to buy it, and I did."
Kingfisher Villa includes a main mansion that has a large living room, three bedrooms (including one apartment-seized bedroom that faces the Arabian sea), a large garden, swimming pools and a dance floor that was sometimes used by Mallya as a helipad. Mallya's initials ('VM') flanked the gate to the Villa on both sides, in massive, gilt letters.
Joshi will probably be looking to replace those initials. Whether or not he replaces them with 'Kings Villa' — after his beer brand — remains to be seen.
In an interview with Mumbai Mirror, Joshi denied that there were any larger implications to be drawn from his purchase of Kingfisher Villa. "It is just a coincidence that I am in the business of beer and happened to buy the villa," he said.
Published Date: Apr 18, 2017 05:00 pm | Updated Date: Apr 18, 2017 05:12 pm