New Delhi: The BJP alleged that liquor baron Vijay Mallya was assisted by the UPA government and the then prime minister Manmohan Singh in getting loans. The party alleged that it was the UPA that bailed out the airlines owner. The statement was made citing letters circulating in the media.
The BJP cited a report that said the UPA government facilitated loans to Mr Mallya after he allegedly wrote to Manmohan Singh and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram in 2011 and 2013.
The letters allegedly requested that loans to Mr Mallya’s defunct Kingfisher Airlines from a consortium of banks be speeded up.
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said that it was under the Congress government that Mallya was first granted a loan despite his company being declared a non-profiting asset.
“First loan to Vijay Mallya was granted in 2004, then in 2008. Despite his companies declared NPA, restructuring of his loan was done in 2010,” Patra said in a press briefing. Patra also implicated former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, saying he pressured SBI to help Mallya. He also said a third loan was granted to Mallya in 2009 before the restructuring in 2010. “Was the sinking ship (Congress) helping out the sinking Airlines?” Sambit Patra said.
Quoting from letters ‘that expose undue favour given by UPA’ to Mallya, he also alleged that Manmohan Singh had granted the Kingfisher airlines permission to operate in view of making air transport better. He said Congress constantly helped Mallya even when he was not going to give any returns, continuously praising the airlines for its work.
Investigative agencies are trawling through 1.5 lakh emails of Vijay Mallya, chairman of the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, to gather possible evidence of any “undue favours” that may have been given to his firm, said two people familiar with the investigation.
These emails, which Mallya sent to senior company officials, political leaders and bankers, may form a part of the CBI’s chargesheet — which is expected in the next few months — on the Rs 6,900 crore loan default by Kingfisher Airlines. Most of the loans were granted to Kingfisher Airlines between 2006 and 2009, when Vijay Mallya was a Member of Parliament.
Indian agencies have since made several attempts to bring back the businessman, who faces warrants in courts. Mr Mallya has said he is living in “forced exile”.