But where exactly is Vijay Mallya?

  • Kalyan Subramani, Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
  • Updated: Mar 09, 2016 12:00 IST
Vijay Mallya (R) in New Delhi on the opening day of the winter session of Parliament (Mohd Zakir/HT photo)

Speculation is rife that embattled industrialist and member of Parliament Vijay Mallya may have already left India, and may be in Geneva, Switzerland. 

Mallya had said in an emotional press statement on Sunday evening that he has no intention or reason to abscond.

While it is not clear if Mallya has, in fact, left the country, calls and emails to his spokesperson remained unanswered.

The industrialist had last week been seen attending Parliament -- he is a sitting Rajya Sabha MP -- but has reportedly not been seen in the House this week.

The plea by a consortium of 17 public sector banks, led by the country’s largest lender, State Bank of India, is slated for hearing in the Supreme Court today. The lenders had moved the apex court on Tuesday pleading that Mallya be restrained from travelling abroad, and the court had admitted the plea.

Read: Did lenders flout rules while pledging the KFA brand for loans?

In what may be another indication of the tough place the industrialist finds himself in, Ravi Nedungadi, long-time advisor and UB Group advisor indicated he would no longer continue with the group. Nedungadi is chief financial officer of UB Group and director in the holding company, United Breweries Holdings Ltd.

At 58, he has attained the age of retirement and decided not to continue with the company, even though UB does not want him to go, according to sources, though this could not be officially confirmed.

In his statement on Sunday, Mallya had said: “I have been most pained as being painted as an absconder – I have neither the intention nor any reason to abscond. I have been a non-resident for almost 28 years and the Reserve Bank of India has acknowledged this in writing.”

Read:Won’t abscond from India, negotiating deal with banks: Vijay Mallya

“My statement as to my personal future after quitting Diageo/USL (United Spirits) - that I want to spend more time in England closer to my children - has been grossly distorted and misportrayed. I wish to reduce my business commitments gradually and devote more time to my family, and that my resignation from United Spirits was a step in this direction,” he had stated.

Earlier last week the consortium of banks had sought the intervention of the Debt Recovery Tribunal to seize Mallya’s passport, and also the first right over the $75 million settlement that Mallya had reached with UK spirits major Diageo, in return for his stepping down from the chairmanship of United Spirits Ltd.

Read: Double blow to Mallya: ED files case, tribunal blocks Diageo payout

Other terms of the agreement included a non-compete clause with Diageo (except in England) and that Diageo drop investigation against Mallya of siphoning off funds from USL and United Breweries. Diageo has already settled $40 million on him, with the rest to be paid over the next five years. 

The next payment on this deal falls due in 2017, a Diageo spokesperson has said.

Read: SC to hear banks plea against Mallya today: What we know so far

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