Siddhartha’s death: Vijay Mallya brands Indian government ‘vicious and unrelenting’

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Updated: Jul 31, 2019 4:48 PM

The 63-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines boss, who is fighting extradition to India in relation to fraud and money laundering allegations, accused the government of not doing enough to support entrepreneurs in debt.

Siddhartha, CCD, VG Siddhartha, VG Siddhartha death, VG Siddhartha CCD, Vijay Mallya, Indian Government, Cafe Coffee DayEmbattled liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya. (Reuters)

Embattled liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya has dubbed the Indian government “vicious and unrelenting” in his latest intervention on social media, as he spoke out in support of Cafe Coffee Day founder V G Siddhartha who was found dead on Wednesday amid financial troubles. The body of 59-year-old Siddhartha, who went missing two days ago, was found by local fishermen and patrolling policemen on the banks of the Netravathi river near Mangaluru. The 63-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines boss, who is fighting extradition to India in relation to fraud and money laundering allegations, accused the government of not doing enough to support entrepreneurs in debt.

“I am indirectly related to VG Siddhartha. Excellent human and brilliant entrepreneur. I am devastated with the contents of his letter,” said Mallya on Twitter. “The Govt Agencies and Banks can drive anyone to despair. See what they are doing to me despite offer of full repayment. Vicious and unrelenting,” he said.

Siddhartha’s body was found after a note left by him accusing the Income Tax Department. While the authenticity of the letter is now being questioned, Mallya compared the situation of debtors in India with those in the West.

“In Western Countries, Government and Banks help borrowers repay their debts. In my case they are obstructing every possible effort for me to repay my debt whilst competing for my assets. As far as the prima facie criminal case goes wait for the appeal granted,” he said, also re-tweeting a series of other Twitter messages related to the financial pressures on Siddhartha.

In reference to the latest proceedings by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against him in India, Mallya reiterated that McDowell Holdings Limited is an independent listed company in India and the suggestion by the Indian investigating agencies that it is a “dummy” company is “preposterous”. “All my financial affairs including my sources of income and expenditure are fully disclosed before English Courts in proceedings initiated by Banks,” he said.

Mallya also sought to distance himself from any connection with Shashikanth, a former managing director of United Breweries Holdings Ltd (UBHL), saying he had no contact with him for the past three years. He also denied any knowledge about Shashikanth’s company Ultimate Branding Worldwide or its activities and claimed he had never heard of and had no connection with Tammy International Dubai – being linked with Mallya as part of the ED investigation.

The businessman branded the latest allegations an “inaccurate version of facts” and once again took aim at the media for publishing “nonsense” for sensational headlines about him. Mallya remains on bail pending his UK High Court appeal, now scheduled for February 2020, in the extradition proceedings brought by India in relation to charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to an alleged Rs 9,000 crores.

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