India, New Delhi: Vijay Mallya, the boisterous Indian beer and spirits tycoon, now cuts a chastened figure. His passport has been revoked, there is a warrant out for his arrest and India’s foreign ministry has written to the UK government requesting his deportation.
The 60-year-old businessman has told Financial Times from his house in Mayfair in central London.”By taking my passport or arresting me, they are not getting any money”. “We have always been in dialogue with banks saying we wish to settle. But we wish to settle at a reasonable number that we can afford and banks can justify on the basis of settlements done before,” Mallya is quoted as telling the newspaper.
Interestingly, Mallya blames the “Indian political climate” and the media, and not the Narendra Modi government for revoking his passport or issuing a non-bailable warrant against him. “I am perfectly happy with a stable government [with a majority in Lok Sabha]. I will be happy when there is a majority in the Upper House (Rajya Sabha) too,” he told the British daily. “It is important to understand the environment in India today. The electronic media is playing a huge role not just in moulding public opinion but in inflaming the government to a very large extent,” he added.
Four days after the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) revoked the liquor baron’s passport, the government on Thursday asked the UK to deport Mallya , whose Kingfisher Airlines has been accused of defaulting bank loans of over Rs 9,400 crore, citing the revocation of his passport and a non-bailable warrant against him.