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‘Please take the money’, stop narrative that I ‘stole’, says Vijay Mallya

NEW DELHI: Fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya took to social media once again with an ‘appeal’ to take the settlement amount and to stop the narrative that he ‘stole money’. Mallya on Thursday tweeted, “Respectfully to all commentators, I cannot understand how my extradition decision or the recent extradition from Dubai and my settlement offer are linked in any way. Wherever I am physically, my appeal is “Please take the money”. I want to stop the narrative that I stole money.”

This is for the second straight day that the 62-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines chief has used the platform to clarify his stance.

Mallya had offered to pay back 100 per cent of “public money” to various Indian banks and urged the government to accept his offer on Wednesday, which comes days ahead of a UK court’s decision on his plea not to extradite him to India.

A ruling in the case is expected at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London on December 10, but the businessman stressed that the extradition issue was a “separate” matter which will take its “own legal course”.

After weeks of silence, Mallya had posted a series of tweets on Wednesday to defend the loans he acquired from various banks as a means of keeping his now-defunct Kingfisher Airline afloat.

“Airlines struggling financially partly because of high ATF prices. Kingfisher was a fab airline that faced the highest ever crude prices of $140/barrel. Losses mounted and that’s where banks money went. I have offered to repay 100 per cent of the principal amount to them. Please take it,” reads one of his posts.

Making a reference to his liquor group United Breweries, Mallya said that “India’s largest alcoholic beverage group” had contributed “thousands of crores” to the state exchequer over the years.

“Kingfisher Airlines also contributed handsomely to the states. Sad loss of the finest Airline but still I offer to pay Banks so no loss. Please take it,” he said.

Mallya’s tweets came hours after alleged AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal middleman Christian Michel was brought to India from Dubai, the first successful extradition since India initiated similar proceedings against alleged economic offenders like Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.

Mallya is fighting his extradition from the UK to India in a trial which opened in London on December 4 last year. The UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), arguing on behalf of the Indian government, has attempted to lay out a prima facie case of fraud against Mallya and establish there are no bars to him being extradited to face Indian courts over the allegations relating to loans made out to erstwhile Kingfisher Airlines.

(With inputs from PTI)

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