- Vijay Mallya says considering appeal options after extradition verdict
- Says he tried to settle dues, but banks were instructed to reject offers
- Says this was done so that probe agencies could accuse him
Fugitive tycoon Vijay Mallya, who a court in the UK said can be extradited to India to face fraud investigations, says India seems more focused on getting him to the country, than recovering money. Vijay Mallya is wanted in India for defaulting on Rs. 9,000 crore in loans to his failed Kingfisher Airlines. In an interview to NDTV over email, Vijay Mallya answered questions on his extradition ruling, whether he will appeal and does he have the money to do that and his repayment of public money.
Here is the exclusive interview with Vijay Mallya:
NDTV: Can you confirm to us whether you will appeal in a higher court in the UK against the order to extradite you to India by the Westminster Magistrate's court? If yes, would it be the same legal team under Ms Clare Montgomery?
Vijay Mallya: My legal team remains the same. Obviously appeal options are being considered.
NDTV: Should your off court settlement offer have come earlier and in a more sincere way?
Vijay Mallya: I have been making settlement offers since early 2016 even before the Supreme Court. The banks were instructed to reject every offer I made as the CBI and ED would not be able to accuse me. Today the ED and banks are fighting over my assets and therefore I submitted my settlement offer before the Karnataka High Court so the court could sell my assets and pay employees banks and other creditors.
NDTV: "It is either a case that the various continuing failures were by design and with a motive (possibly financial) which is not clear from the evidence that has been put in front of me, or it is a case of a bank who were in the thrall of this glamorous, flashy, famous, bejewelled, bodyguarded, ostensibly billionaire playboy who charmed and cajoled these bankers into losing their common sense and persuading them to put their own rules and regulations to one side." said Judge Emma Arbuthnot. - Ouch Mr Mallya?
Vijay Mallya: This is a very uncalled for and unfortunate observation which seems to also suggest that a public sector bank acted improperly due to my persona.
NDTV: Does it surprise you that India has not started recovering the money yet?
Vijay Mallya: Obviously India is more focused on my presence in India than recovering public money.
NDTV: You were a member of the Parliament of India - do you feel you are being responsible by living in the UK and having to contest extradition. In hindsight would you have done things differently?
Vijay Mallya: I have been an NRI since 1988 and was granted permanent residency in the UK since 1992. In 2002, when I was first elected to parliament the BJP challenged my election before the election commission and the Karnataka high court on grounds that I was an NRI. I won both. It is a misconception that my primary home and business was in India after 1992. In fact my primary base was in the UK so I have never understood the narrative that I fled India.
NDTV: Do you have a message for Lalit Modi and Nirav Modi who may also face extradition cases?
Vijay Mallya: Lalit has just suffered a great personal tragedy so I will not comment. I know nothing about the Nirav Modi case.
NDTV: Why do you say you are made the poster boy of bank default cases? Do you mean there are many others out there and the government is not paying attention to them?
Vijay Mallya: Absolutely correct.
NDTV: How long are you willing to resist an extradition? It is going to be an expensive affair and an exhausting one - do you have the energy and the money to do that?
Vijay Mallya: Absolutely yes.
NDTV: What has been your biggest learning in the last two years?
Vijay Mallya: The bizarre extent to which Indian government agencies can hound a person.
NDTV: The CBI drama in India unfolded just after the hearing in your case concluded. Would that be something you would refer to in your appeal?
Vijay Mallya: Please give me some information.