Fugitive business tycoon Vijay Mallya on Tuesday came out with a five-page letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in which he promised to settle his dues with the Indian banks, and said he was ready to pay up the pending salaries of the Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) employees through the use of interest accruing on deposits of Rs 1,280 crore submitted with the Karnataka High Court since 2013.
Mallya said in a statement from the UK that he had written this letter way back on April 15, 2016 to both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, but to no avail. "I wrote letters to both the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister on 15th April 2016 and am making these letters public to put things in the right perspective. No response was received from either of them," Mallya said.
He said he sympathised with the Kingfisher Airlines employees who repeatedly complained about non-payment of salaries and consequent hardships. "Under my stewardship, UB Group at its zenith employed more than 66,000 people, most of whom served the group for 20-30 years. If I was an inconsiderate person who didn't believe in looking after employees, we would not have such a track record for many decades."
Mallya said that the employees of Kingfisher Airlines were happy and highly motivated, which enabled the company to deliver the best service ever seen in the airline industry in India. "Due to the unfortunate financial demise of Kingfisher Airlines, sentiments turned against us," he said.
In the letter, Mallya further mentions that he had made an effort to pay the salaries of the employees of the company despite the DGCA suspending its licence in 2012. "As KFA's flight operations were suspended by the DGCA in October 2012, and thereafter, its air operator's permit expired by efflux of time on December 31, 2012, and KFA was in no position to meet these expenses," said Mallya.
He added that though he was not legally obliged to do so, the UB Group made an application in early 2014 to the Supreme Court to pay a part of the salaries of Kingfisher Airlines employees. "Unfortunately, our application is pending and has not been heard," said the fugitive tycoon.
Presenting a pending salary payment plan to the eligible erstwhile KFA employees, Mallya has now asked the courts to permit "utilisaiton of the substantial interest accruing on deposits of Rs 1,280 crore made with the Karnataka High Court since 2013". He also said that he was being "singularly targeted" without any acknowledgement of Kingfisher Airlines employee relations during operations.
Mallya is fighting extradition to India on fraud and money laundering charges worth an estimated Rs 9,000 crores.