Washington: Beleaguered business tycoon Vijay Mallya, who is facing arrest over allegations of defaulting bank loans of over Rs 9,400 crore, claims he is willing to return to India. But he also warned that revoking his passport or arresting him will not mean that he will return the loan amount.
Claiming that he has been hurt by the way his Indian passport was revoked, Mallya said, “The manner in which my passport was first suspended and then revoked is unprecedented and done with an extraordinary haste. By taking my passport or arresting me, they are not getting any money.”
In his first on-camera interview after he left India, Mallya reiterated his claim that he wishes to clear his outstanding dues to the creditors and the banks. “I definitely would like to return to India,” he told Financial Times.
“Right now things are flying at me fast and furious. I don’t know what the government is going to do next but I have always maintained that notwithstanding anything else, I’m interested in a settlement with Kingfisher Airlines and would reach out if they are interested in making a settlement,” he said.
“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.”
He also said that he will not bow down to the pressure that is being put on him by the government agencies to clear the bank’s dues. “There are other creditors that need to be satisfied too. I can’t be seen to be giving preference to the banks just because of this extraordinary pressure being put on me by various government agencies,” he said.
“I don’t know whether it’s the banks or the media or both. But I have never been able to understand where this Rs 9,000 figure came from. If there is reason and rationale around, the banks can be settled along with other creditors,” he said.
Mallya slammed the media for moulding the public opinion against him. “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,” Mallya said.