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Why Modi not instructing banks to take money I have put on table: Mallya

Why Modi not instructing banks to take money I have put on table: Mallya
It is a perfectly tangible, sincere, honest and readily achievable offer. The shoe is on the other foot now. Why don't the banks take the money lent to KFA," he questioned. Image Credit: Wikimedia

Vijay Mallya has once again taken to social media in an attempt to send out messages to the Indian government, this time with a direct reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech in Parliament about bringing back fugitives. The 63-year-old liquor baron, who is in the process of appealing against an extradition order by the UK government to face fraud and money laundering charges in India, repeated his claim of putting money "on the table" to settle the unpaid loans of his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines (KFA).

"The Prime Minister's last speech in Parliament was brought to my attention. He certainly is a very eloquent speaker. I noticed that he referred to an unnamed person who 'ran away' with 9,000 crores. Given the media narrative, I can only infer that reference is to me," he said in the first of a series of messages on Twitter overnight on Wednesday. "Following on from my earlier tweet, I respectfully ask why the Prime Minister is not instructing his banks to take the money I have put on the table so he can at least claim credit for the full recovery of public funds lent to Kingfisher," he said.

Mallya, who has previously issued a letter to Modi calling on the Indian government to accept his repayment plan, reiterated that he had made an offer before the Karnataka High Court. "This cannot be dismissed as frivolous. It is a perfectly tangible, sincere, honest and readily achievable offer. The shoe is on the other foot now. Why don't the banks take the money lent to KFA," he questioned.

In reference to the ongoing developments in the Indian courts, the businessman said he was "appalled" by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) claims that he had hidden his wealth. "If there was hidden wealth how could I put approximately Rs 14,000 crores worth of assets openly in front of Court (sic)? Shameful misleading of public opinion but unsurprising," he wrote.

On a more nostalgic note, Mallya's last Twitter message is accompanied by an image of a chocolate wrapper for King Star Chocolates from Ooty – a town related to his childhood. "Bless my friends who brought me my favourite chocolate from my favourite town where I grew up," he said.

Earlier this month, UK home secretary Sajid Javid signed off on the extradition order for Mallya to be sent back to India to face charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to an estimated Rs 9,000 crores. In a Twitter statement soon after, the UK-based businessman confirmed plans to file an application seeking leave to appeal against that order in the UK High Court and has until next week to file the papers.

The order followed an extradition trial at Westminster Magistrates Court in London, which ended in Judge Emma Arbuthnot ruling in favour of extradition. In her verdict at the end of a year-long trial in December last year, she said the "flashy" former Kingfisher Airlines boss had a "case to answer" in the Indian courts.

She found there was "clear evidence of dispersal and misapplication of the loan funds" and accepted a prima facie case of fraud and a conspiracy to launder money against Mallya, as presented by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on behalf of the Indian authorities. Mallya has been based in the UK since March 2016 and remains on bail on an extradition warrant executed by Scotland Yard in April 2017.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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