- Vijay Mallya owes Rs. 9,000 crore to banks, escaped to the UK in 2016
- Vijay Mallya today released his 2016 letter to PM Modi, Finance Minister
- Vijay Mallya says he had been made the "Poster Boy" of bank default
Fugitive tycoon Vijay Mallya said in a statement today that he had sought approvals from a court in Karnataka to sell assets worth Rs 13,900 crore to repay creditors including banks. He also released a two-year-old letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said he was "making every effort" to settle his dues but he had been made the "Poster Boy" of bank default and a lightning rod for public anger.
In a statement from the UK, where he has based himself in the past two years, Mr Mallya said he had appealed before the court on Friday (June 22).
If agencies like the CBI or Enforcement Directorate objected to his appeal, he said, it would demonstrate "an agenda against me beyond recovery of dues".
"I respectfully say that I have made and continue to make every effort, in good faith to settle with the Public Sector Banks. If politically motivated extraneous factors interfere, there is nothing that I can do," said the 62-year-old.
According to him, the two agencies were "determined" to frame criminal charges against him. He also alleged that two past offers to settle were rejected by banks, the second time by a junior SBI (State Bank of India) officer.
"The surprising fact is that the ED has objected in court to my Group's applications for sale of assets in order to allow me to repay creditors," he said, questioning "whether the government wants me to repay the Public Sector Banks or not".
"I wrote letters to both the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister on 15th April 2016 and am making these letters public to put things in the right perspective. No response was received from either of them," Mr Mallya said.
The government, reacting to the statement, said Mr Mallya had "many years" to pay the 9,000 crore he owes.
Mr Mallya is wanted in India for defaulting on loans worth crores and also in a money-laundering case. He lives in a mansion near London and has been spotted at many events. Last year, he was arrested in London on an extradition warrant.
The liquor baron flew to the UK in 2016 - when a group of banks had just launched efforts to recover dues from him - and has been fighting against moves to extradite him to India to face trial.
He said he was "tired of this relentless pursuit" by the government and its criminal agencies.
He also claimed that the bulk of his dues were on account of interest, which kept rising either because his properties were seized or because he was denied permission to sell assets.