Embattled liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya took to social media on Monday to lament the collapse of Jet Airways and repeated his offer of a “100 per cent payback” for state-owned Indian banks to cover his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines’ debt.
The 63-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) boss is currently appealing against his extradition order from the UK to India to face charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to an alleged Rs 9,000 crores.
Mallya drew parallels between the plight of his collapsed airline and that of Jet Airways, India’s leading private airline which grounded to a halt earlier this month amid a mounting cash crunch.
“Several Indian airlines collapsed sadly including KFA. Now the previously unthinkable has happened with the collapse of Jet,” Mallya said on Twitter on Monday.
“Genuine business failures. But I am criminally charged by CBI/ED despite offering 100% payback. Wonder why only me,” he questioned.
His latest Twitter statements echo some of his previous social media interventions on the issue, claiming that his offer to pay back the debt owed by his now-defunct airline had been rebuffed by the banks and the Indian government.
“Watched TV debate on the sad collapse of Jet which included unpaid employees and Industry veterans. Important issues on unemployment and suffering, security available to banks, prospects of revival etc. Here I am offering 100% payback of KFA loans which Banks won’t take. Why?” he said.
Mallya, who remains on bail on an extradition warrant executed by Scotland Yard in April 2017, is undergoing a UK High Court appeals process against his extradition order signed off by UK home secretary Sajid Javid in February.
He has been allocated July 2 as the date for a brief hearing to convince a High Court judge that he should be given permission to proceed to a full-blown appeal against Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court ruling last December in favour of his extradition to India.
The judge had concluded there was “clear evidence of dispersal and misapplication of the loan funds” and accepted a prima facie case of fraud and a conspiracy to launder money against Mallya, as presented by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on behalf of the Indian authorities.
Meanwhile, the businessman also faces a flurry of other legal cases in UK courts related to a worldwide freezing order and a threat of foreclosure of one of his homes in central London.