Earlier this morning fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya again took to Twitter to reiterate his settlement offer to banks, while denying any links between his offer and the upcoming UK court decision on his extradition case, or for that matter Choppergate scandal accused Christian James Michel's recent extradition from Dubai.
"Respectfully to all commentators, I cannot understand how my extradition decision or the recent extradition from Dubai and my settlement offer are linked in any way. Wherever I am physically, my appeal is "Please take the money". I want to stop the narrative that I stole money," Mallya tweeted.
This follows a flurry of tweets that he posted on Wednesday refuting allegations of being a wilful defaulter and offering to "repay 100% of the Principal amount" that he owes the Indian banks. "Politicians and Media are constantly talking loudly about my being a defaulter who has run away with PSU Bank money. All this is false. Why don't I get fair treatment and the same loud noise about my comprehensive settlement offer before the Karnataka High Court. Sad," read the first of his tweets on the topic yesterday, followed by another Twitter post claiming that "Airlines struggling financially partly becoz of high ATF prices. Kingfisher was a fab airline that faced the highest ever crude prices of $ 140/barrel. Losses mounted and that's where Banks money went. I have offered to repay 100% of the Principal amount to them. Please take it."
The 62-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines boss is fighting extradition to India on charges of fraud and money laundering allegedly amounting to around Rs 9,000 crore. A ruling in the case is expected at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London on December 10, but the businessman stressed that the extradition issue was a "separate" matter which will take its "own legal course". He further claimed that he has been making "settlement offers since 2016" and has already "placed 14K crores [Rs 14,000 crore] worth of assets in front of Court".
"The most important point is public money and I am offering to pay 100 per cent back. I humbly request the banks and government to take it. If payback refused, WHY? (sic)," he questioned in one of his posts on Twitter. He further claimed that he had been running India's largest alcoholic beverage group for three decades and had "contributed thousands of crores to the state exchequers" and Kingfisher Airlines, too, had "contributed handsomely".
Given that Mallya's tweets came hours after alleged AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal middleman Christian Michel was brought to India from Dubai - the first successful extradition since India initiated similar proceedings against alleged economic offenders like Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi - sections of the media had played up this link. However, Mallya has hit back with the following tweet: "Please check facts. Extradition and my settlement offer are completely separate. I filed my settlement offer in Court months ago. I want to pay the Banks and stop the rhetoric that I stole money".
Edited by Sushmita Choudhury; with PTI inputs