In an affidavit filed in 2010, as he sought a second Rajya Sabha term, liquor baron Vijay Mallya said he had zero property and debt, listing as “nil” his loans from banks and financial institutions.
That document from almost six years ago drew attention on Thursday as Mr Mallya’s departure from India amid attempts by 17 banks to recover Rs. 9000-crore owed to them rocked Parliament, with the opposition accusing the government of “allowing Vijay Mallya to flee.”
The ruling BJP in turn accused the Congress, which was in power then, of facilitating the loans of thousands of crores to Mr Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines, now defunct.
In the 2010 affidavit, Mr Mallya – known to travel in the most luxurious cars and who owns lavish homes across the world, including Ladywalk, the five-acre rural England residence he is at currently – declared no houses or buildings in his name or that of his spouse or dependents and said he owned one Ferrari car, a 1989 model, bought in India in 2000 for 25 lakhs.
Vijay Mallya won his second term to the Rajya Sabha, with support from the Janata Dal United and the BJP.
The banks had petitioned the Supreme Court this week saying Mr Mallya should be stopped from leaving India because of the enormous debts that his grounded Airlines owes. The government informed the court that Mr Mallya left India on March 2.
“Technically he may be right because he may have zero personal debt. The debt is owed by his companies,” senior Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan said.
At Tiwen village in Hertforshire, about an hour away from London, a villager told NDTV that he knew of Mr Mallya who “visits the local pubs regularly…I can tell when he is in town because there is a buzz around, he moves around in several fancy cars. His house is among the biggest in our county.”