Kingfisher Airlines chairman Vijay Mallya on Tuesday claimed that he was in talks with banks to settle dues of the defunct airline, saddled with a whopping Rs 8,700 crore loan.
“I am focusing on Kingfisher affairs with banks. That is what my current focus is,” Mallya said on the margins of the 16th annual general meeting (AGM) of United Spirits Ltd (USL) at his posh UB City.
A consortium of 17 banks, led by State Bank of India recently declared the business tycoon-cum-Rajya Sabha independent member a “wilful defaulter” after his grounded airline failed to repay loans raised since he launched the high-flying carrier in 2008.
Asked how he would settle the outstanding debts and mobilise funds to clear other dues, which also run into crores of rupees, Mallya retorted: “Why should I answer your questions?”
The debt-ridden airline was grounded on October 1, 2012 when it cancelled all 50 flights after a section of employees went on a flash strike, leaving thousands of passengers stranded. It lost operator’s licence on October 20, 2012.
The country’s premier investigating agency CBI on October 10, 2015 searched Mallya’s posh houses and Kingfisher’s offices in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Goa in a case related to non-payment of Rs.900 crore loan from IDBI Bank.