MUMBAI: Businessman Vijay Mallya, who is being pursued by Indian authorities over unpaid loans tied to his defunct Kingfisher Airlines, said on Tuesday he was trying to sell assets worth about 139bn rupees ($2.04bn) to repay creditors.

India has asked Britain to extradite Mallya to face trial after the liquor and aviation tycoon fled there in March 2016.

The businessman said in a statement he and his UB Holdings Ltd filed an application on June 22 before a regional high court in India seeking permission to sell the assets that are under judicial supervision.

Indian government’s Enforce­­ment Directorate, which fights financial crimes, also filed an application on the same day seeking to declare Mallya a “fugitive economic offender” and sought to confiscate 125bn rupees worth of his assets.

Mallya, who denies the charges against him, said any objection by the Enforcement Directorate or Central Bureau of Investigation to his proposals to sell assets “will clearly demonstrate that there is an agenda against me beyond recovery of dues to Public Sector Banks.” “All my efforts are either ignored or misunderstood,” Mallya said in a statement.

The Karnataka High Court in Southern India has yet to give a verdict on Mallya’s request to sell assets.

Kingfisher, which stopped flying in October 2012, owed banks about 90bn rupees ($1.3bn) when Mallya left India more than two years ago.

Since then, the Indian financial authorities have increased their crackdown on record levels of bad loans at lenders, especially at state-run banks which account for the bulk of the soured assets.

Lawyers for Mallya, who co-owns the Force India Formula One team, have opposed his extradition to India saying the case against him was politically motivated.

“I have become the ‘Poster Boy’ of bank default and a lightning rod of public anger,” Mallya said in his statement. India has dismissed charges that its pursuit of Mallya is driven by politics, with its lawyer at an extradition hearing at a London court accusing Mallya of never intending to repay the money borrowed by Kingfisher.

Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2018

Opinion

Editorial

Failure of accountability
Updated 26 Jan, 2022

Failure of accountability

THE resignation of PTI government’s accountability czar Barrister Shahzad Akbar is a blow to the party’s central...
26 Jan, 2022

New freight service

THE launch of a new railway freight service connecting the Karachi port with the industrial and commercial centres ...
26 Jan, 2022

Flying curbs

THE unexpected decision of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency to continue its ban on PIA operations to EU...
Under pressure
Updated 25 Jan, 2022

Under pressure

It is fairly obvious that PM is cognisant of the trouble that his government is in from a political and economic perspective.
25 Jan, 2022

Ukraine tensions

TENSIONS between Nato and Russia over Ukraine have reached a critical pass, and there are genuine fears of a fresh...
25 Jan, 2022

Defeating polio

WITH Pakistan in the decisive stage of the battle against polio, every vaccination campaign is of significance as it...