Bengaluru– A defiant liquor baron Vijaya Mallya on Thursday asserted that he would get judicial relief soon from criminal charges filed against him by a consortium of banks for defaulting on loans his defunct airline raised.
“I have a great faith in the Indian judicial system and I am sure judicial relief will come our way sooner than later,” Mallya said in a transcript read out in absentia at the 100th annual general meeting (AGM) here of the United Breweries (Holdings) Ltd as he is in London since March 2 when he left India.
Terming the grounding of Kingfisher Airlines as a business failure, Mallya said actions by various government departments against his were unprecedented in the Indian corporate history.
“What started as a genuine business failure of Kingfisher Airlines has turned out to be a nightmare despite the fact that the business had failed due to high fuel prices, adverse govern policies, high taxation and the failure of IAE V2500 engines,” claimed Mallya addressing the shareholders as the company’s chairman.
V2500 engines of the International Aero Engines (IAE) power the Airbus A320 family of passenger aircraft.
The flamboyant tycoon is facing multiple cases, including criminal for defaulting on repaying loans raised to fund the bleeding airline from a consortium of banks led by the state-run State Bank of India, estimated to be about Rs 9,000 crore, including compound interest.
Apart from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Enforcement Directorate, income tax department and banks have filed various cases against him and his airline for recovering the bad loans or dues from his loss-making airline.
In Mallya’s conspicuous absence for the first time at the flagship company’s AGM, non-executive independent director N. Srinivasan chaired the proceedings.
Noting that business was all about success and failure, Mallya said the government agencies chose to ignore the very basic fact only in a few select cases.
“Instead, I am being accused of having stolen or siphoned out Rs 6,000 crore out of Kingfisher Airlines without any legal basis whatsoever,” reiterated Mallya.
Accusing the government of making him a poster boy of bad loans and financial crime, attaching his properties and threatening other forms of action, the tycoon said he would contest the charges against him in the courts of law.
“I can assure you (that) we can account for every paise of borrowings of Kingfisher Airlines and every paise of expenditure incurred by the airline through the trust retention account of the company managed by SBI as leader of the consortium, which filed criminal charges against me and the company,” claimed Mallya.
Seeking the support of his shareholders in his legal battles, the former Rajya Sabha lawmaker asked them to stay focused with a resolve to seek judicial intervention for relief so that he could come out of the unfortunate situation quickly.
Regretting his inability to be with shareholders on the company’s100th AGM, Mallya told them when a batsman score a century in cricket everybody applauds.
“And for a company to celebrate its 100th AGM is a sign of sustainability and maturity and continued success. It pains me that I am not there personally to share this wonderful occasion with shareholders,” added Mallya.