(London Post) The flamboyant entrepreneur has slammed media reports speculating on his departure from India. Mallya owes more than 1 billion euros to a conglomerate of banks following the collapse of Kingfisher Airlines. Indian businessman Vijay Mallya on Friday denied allegations that he fled the country amid a wave of allegations that he absconded amid a surge of interest in his more than $1 billion debt following the collapse of Kingfisher Airlines in 2012.
Mallya, who built his wealth through investments in liquor and brewing in the 2000s, owes 90.91 billion Indian rupees ($1.36 billion, 1.22 billion euros) to a group of more than 12 banks, including India’s largest, State Bank of India.
The Formula One team boss lashed out at news reports speculating on his departure, describing them as a “media witch hunt.” The Sahara Force India F1 team, based at the Silverstone race circuit, is one of the reasons why Mallya has owned – and frequently used – a home in the UK for several years.
Ghulam Nabi Azad, leader of the opposition Congress Party, on Thursday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government of “a criminal conspiracy in letting Mallya fly out of the country.”
India’s Federal Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told parliament that authorities could not prevent Mallya from embarking the flight since he has not been charged with a crime.
“We intend to recover the entire amount,” Jaitley said.
ls/msh (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)