Liquor baron Vijay Mallya who is swamped in money laundering charges and whose passport has been revoked by the government, asserted on Tuesday that facts needed to be verified first before he was branded as a 'defaulter'. “In all humility and not in defiance as they report, I would like Indian media to check and verify facts before calling me a defaulter,” Mallya tweeted.
However he admitted that Kingfisher Air owes money to banks but added that he was neither a borrower nor a judgement debtor. “Why am I a defaulter inspite of a settlement offer ?” he added. The flamboyant businessman had earlier expressed disappointment over being labelled as a wilful defaulter despite his willingness to settle all financial disputes.
"I have been labeled wilful defaulter which I just cannot understand. We have invested over 600 million pounds into Kingfisher Airlines. We tried everything conceivably possible to save the airline. A combination of macro-economic factors and then government policies, unfortunately could not safe Kingfisher," said Mallya in an interview with Lionel Barber, Editor of the Financial Times.
Earlier, Mallya resigned as a Rajya Sabha MP a week after the Rajya Sabha's ethics committee decided to unanimously expel him from Parliament. Mallya has said that the Indian government will not be able to recover any money from him by taking his passport or arresting him. The committee had given him a week's time to explain his conduct in the default on bank loans in excess of Rs. 9,000 crore extended to his Kingfisher Airlines Ltd.
The government had revoked the passport of Mallya, who is believed to be in the UK after leaving India on March 2. Rajya Sabha membership of Mallya as an independent lapses on 30 June 2016. The businessman is facing legal proceedings for alleged default of loans worth over nine thousand crore rupees from various banks.