Vijay Mallya offers to sell assets worth Rs 139 billion to settle dues

Vijay Mallya on Tuesday made a two-year-old letter to the prime minister public and said he was making efforts to repay debts and had even moved the Karnataka High Court this month, seeking permission to sell assets worth Rs 139 billion to settle dues.

This has come a week after the Enforcement Directorate moved a Mumbai court to declare Mallya a fugitive offender and confiscate his assets worth around Rs 125 billion.

In a 2,000-word statement, Mallya said he was doing everything in his power to resolve the issue, despite being made the 'poster boy' of bank default in India. “I have become the ‘poster boy’ of bank default and a lightning rod of public anger. I wrote letters to the prime minister and the finance minister on April 15, 2016, and am making these letters public to put things in the right perspective,” Mallya said in the letter, adding, he did not receive any response from either.

Mallya fled the country in March 2016 and has been since living in London despite numerous summons from Indian courts and law enforcement agencies. He is currently contesting cases against the government's moves to extradite him to the country for facing trial.  He has moved to the Karnataka High Court in a joint petition with United Breweries Holdings Ltd (UBHL) to sell assets worth Rs 139 billion under judicial supervision.

“UBHL and myself have filed an application before the Karnataka High Court on June 22, 2018, setting out available assets of around Rs 139 billion. We have requested the court's permission to allow us to sell these assets under judicial supervision and repay creditors, including public sector banks as may be directed and determined by the court,” according to the letter.

However, given the tepid response to Kingfisher's assets sale on previous occasions, market watchers are not much enthused. “We have to see how this whole thing evolves. It can be one more delaying tactic on the part of the said party. Bankers may not be too enthused by this move since Mallya had earlier said he would settle his dues at a price and unfortunately, that price was never arrived between the company and creditors," an analyst with a global rating agency said.

After the grounding of Kingfisher Airlines, a consortium of 17 banks led by State Bank of India had a difficult time in selling the assets of the erstwhile airline.

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