Vijay Mallya, the embattled chairman of UB Group who has been declared a “wilful defaulter” by one of his creditors United Bank of India, refuted charges made by the bank, reiterating that he would take legal recourse and dismissed suggestions that he would have to vacate board positions.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the annual general meet of United Breweries and Mangalore Chemical & Fertilisers (MCF) on Thursday Mallya said, “In response to the United Bank of India action, I have already issued a statement, which says that we strongly deny allegations made, that we disagree with findings of the grievance redressal committee”.
“I have great faith in the judicial system of the country. I shall certainly pursue all legal remedies available to me,” he said.
Mallya also claimed that none of the UB shareholders had asked him to step down from the board as chairman in light of the wilful defaulter tag.
“Nobody asked me to step down. They (investors) did not ask any question or raised concerns with me in the meeting (AGM),” he added.
Asked about UBI executive director’s statement that UB Group was given time to present its case, Mallya said “I cannot get into media debate on what the United Bank of India executive director has said. We were not given hearing, we have not appeared before them, we disagree with their action, and we shall pursue with legal remedies.”
Responding to a query on other banks such as SBI and Axis planning similar actions against him, Mallya said “There is no point in indulging in speculation. We will take each one as it comes”.
Despite being a minority shareholder after stake sale, Mallya remains chairman of United Spirits Ltd and United Breweries Ltd, which are controlled by Diageo and Heineken respectively.
Saroj Poddar, chairman of Adventz Group, said the crisis is unlikely to affect its pact with MCF.
“The situation remains unchanged as (status of) wilful defaulter is irrelevant as far as my agreement with Mallya over Mangalore Chemicals is concerned... we continue to remain interested and that position remain unchanged,” Poddar told reporters on the sidelines of the AGM of his group company Texmaco Rail.
Poddar in May teamed up with Mallya to up the bid price for a 26% stake in MCFL to thwart a move by Deepak Fertilisers and Chemicals, which has been trying to acquire a controlling stake in the company.
As per the agreement Mallya was supposed to continue as the chairman of MCFL.
“The only difference that will happen is Mallya remaining chairman and the board positions. Beyond that I think there would be any change,” Poddar said.
However, he said, “But the agreement obviously has to be modified as when we did the pact we never forsee this scenario.”
Poddar said Mallya had told him there had not been any wilful default.
(with Agency inputs)