Mallya says will settle bank dues, doesn’t say how

19 Feb 2016


Days after Punjab National Bank declared him a 'wilful defaulter', embattled businessman Vijay Mallya, promoter of the ill-fated Kingfisher Airlines, today appeared defiant, saying "PNB is not the only bank and he will do what he has to do".

Known for his flamboyance and hosting lavish parties even when his companies have been declared defaulters by lenders, Mallya also said everybody has his own "perception" about his lifestyle and he would not comment on it.

He, however, maintained his future course of action was to achieve settlement with banks.

PNB is the third public sector bank to declare the defunct Kingfisher Airlines and its two guarantors - United Breweries (Holdings) Ltd and Mallya - wilful defaulters, which means they are not repaying loans despite being in a position to do so. Earlier, United Bank of India and State Bank of India had done the same.

Talking to Times Now news channel, Mallya said he had "no comment to make" when asked about Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan's recent comment on lavish birthday parties thrown by loan defaulters.

"Listen everybody has their own perception. I don't want to comment," he said when asked about his lifestyle.

Mallya said he would not comment on PNB, which had loaned Rs800 crore to his airline, declaring him a wilful defaulter. "I have no reaction at all. I don't comment on these things," he said.

"I have no comment to make," he said. "My only future (course of) action is to achieve settlement with banks."

He, however, refused to say how he would achieve that or the timeframe in which he would pay up outstanding loans.

"That is it. I have nothing more to say," he said when asked how he plans to reach a settlement with banks.

Asked about the timeframe for repaying loans or reaching a settlement, he said, "Why are asking me the same question in 10 different ways?"

When pointed out to him that questions are being raised because it involved taxpayers' money, he said, "Listen, I am making all possible efforts to settle with the banks. That's all I am prepared to say."

Asked when he would clear every penny that he and his companies owe to bank, Mallya said, "Listen, why are you going on and on. Are you the government of India or are you the RBI governor asking me all these questions?"

When told that these are the questions that RBI has asked, he said, "Fair enough. If RBI asks me any question, I will respond to the RBI."

Asked about PwC report alleged fund diversion, he said, "I don't want to answer about anything. I have not commented to the media and I don't want to comment."

In April 2015, the Diageo-controlled USL Board said it has "lost confidence" in Vijay Mallya after an internal probe and a forensic inquiry by PwC revealed alleged fund diversion to Kingfisher and other UB group entities.


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