The government had bailed out Air India but not Kingfisher Airlines (KFA), beleaguered industrialist Vijay Mallya said on Saturday. “Government bailed out Air India, but did not bail out KFA. So much for favours,” recalled Mallya in a series of tweets, three days after the market watchdog Sebi barred him from trading in securities with six others.
The then UPA government had in April 2014 announced a Rs 30,000-crore bailout package to the loss-making state-run Air India till 2020 by way of capital infusion, hiving off its engineering services and ground handling business.
Incidentally, Kingfisher grounded its services across the country in October 2012 after the civil aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) suspended its flying licence. The flamboyant 61-year-old Mallya, however, is reported to be in Britain in exile since he left India on March 2, 2016 after the consortium moved the Debt Recovery Tribunal in February 2016 to expedite the hearing on its recovery petition.
The Tribunal on January 19 this year ordered attachment and recovery of Mallya’s properties for defaulting on bank loans by Kingfisher. Allowing a joint petition filed in June 2013 by a consortium of 17 banks led by the State Bank of India (SBI), the Tribunal’s Bengaluru bench said properties of Mallya and Kingfisher worth Rs 6,203 crore ($909 million) be recovered from them with 11.5 per cent interest per annum since July 26, 2013 over unpaid loans. Roberto Luongo Jersey